FL’s Board of Medicine to vote whether to ban medical care for transgender youth

By: - November 2, 2022 4:02 pm

Trans activists left the October 28 Florida Board of Medicine rule making committee meeting yelling “The blood is on your hands” to conduct a “Die-In” protest just outside the meeting. Credit: Erin Reed

With Florida health officials deciding on the fate of gender-affirming medical care and treatment for youth in the state, Democrat Charlie Crist has vowed to fire the state’s surgeon general if elected as governor in the midterm election in less than a week.

Crist, a former Republican governor, Attorney General, Education Commissioner as well as a Democratic congressman, got involved after the Florida Board of Medicine moved forward with a draft proposal to ban the care and treatments for children and adolescents. Crist will face of with GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in the governor’s race next week.

The full board — Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine Joint Board Meeting — is set to meet Friday in Orlando to vote on the proposal entitled “Practice Standards for the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria,” according to the board’s agenda.

Crist said in a statement. “When I’m governor, medical standards will be based on science and professional consensus — not right-wing culture war politics. I’ll fire DeSantis’ QAnon Surgeon General and restore access to lifesaving, age-appropriate care.”

Weesam Khoury, deputy chief of staff for the Florida Department of Health, said in an email to the Florida Phoenix on Wednesday in response to Crist: “You, and any other official, can read about how Florida’s Surgeon General is appointed, and about the role itself, in Florida Statutes.”

A spokesperson for the Florida National Organization for Women told the Phoenix on Wednesday that the vote to approve the rule would mean that doctors would be prohibited from offering gender-affirming care and treatments to children in Florida.

“First it was an abortion ban, and now DeSantis is attacking parental rights and trans healthcare,” said Florida National Organization for Women Board Member Kat Duesterhaus.

“The entire process with the Board of Medicine has been rigged from the start. The speakers prioritized at these proceedings weren’t even Florida residents, while dozens of trans Floridians and parents of trans youth who are from Florida and support gender-affirming care were denied the chance to speak. This ban will leave blood on their hands.”

Open letter

Several advocacy groups and others are pushing back against the state in an open letter, opposing the ban and condemning the state’s board of medicine for allegedly attacking members of the LGBTQ+ community.

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the Florida Board of Medicine’s recent decision to begin the rule-making process to create Florida-specific “standards of care” for gender-affirming healthcare for transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse youth,” the letter states.

“Despite the Board of Medicine’s claims to be an apolitical body acting on behalf of all Florida residents, the board meeting on August 5th, 2022, revealed an explicitly political agenda. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ hand-picked appointees on the Board of Medicine initiated these proceedings as one of several policy attacks on LGBTQ+ people in Florida,” the letter says.

And LGBTQ+ advocates across the state fear that the DeSantis administration could threaten transgender Floridians’ access to medical care that could save their lives, as the state continues to push for more restrictions.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has been pushing back against the medical care for children and adolescents, as the Florida Department of Health established guidance on in late April on “treating gender dysphoria for children and adolescents.”

The state had already blocked transgender residents from receiving gender-affirming care through Medicaid coverage, a program that provides medical care for low-income people.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.

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