The Phoenix Flyer

Nationwide LGBTQ+ advocacy group opposes FL health officials’ efforts to restrict transgender medical care

By: - August 4, 2022 4:34 pm
transgender rights

Protestors rally for transgender rights. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

A day before the Florida Board of Medicine considers potential restrictions on certain medical care for transgender Floridians, a nationwide advocacy group has condemned policies that could endanger trans kids and adults.

The Human Rights Campaign, a nationwide LGBTQ+ advocacy group based out of Washington, D.C., has declared such restrictions as a “transparently political move that seeks to take decisions about best care practices out of the hands of medical professionals and patients,” according to a Thursday press release.

At issue is a petition by the Florida Department of Health to ban certain medical care for transgender kids and adults. In addition, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration proposed a rule declaring that Florida Medicaid does not cover puberty blockers, hormones and hormone antagonists, sex reassignment surgeries, and “any other procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.”

The Florida Board of Medicine will be considering both the rule and petition during a meeting Friday, and some Florida-based LGBTQ+ advocacy groups plan to rally and mobilize to show their disapproval of these propositions.

Florida health officials argue that the evidence to support gender-affirming care for transgender people is “low-quality,” even though groups like American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association, among many others, have issued statements in support of gender-affirming care for transgender youths and adults.

The Human Rights Campaign says that the rationale that the board is turning to is “flawed” and “inaccurate,” according to the Thursday press release.

“Science, medicine, and evidence-based approaches have demonstrated time and time again that transition-related care is medically necessary and life-saving care, and if this proposal is adopted, it will go against the recommendation of every major medical association,” Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director, said in a written statement. “The truth matters and so does protecting Florida’s youth and their families.”

The press release includes a hefty list of claims made by the Department of Health to justify these policy propositions that HRC attempts to debunk.

For example, the department has claimed that “only” a minority of transgender children remain gender dysphoric as adults, but the HRC says that “numerous published studies have noted that detransition is rare, with those who begin transitioning in adolescence the least likely to detransition.”

Over the past few years, the DeSantis administration has taken a sledgehammer to state protections and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, from banning certain discussions about gender identity and sexual orientations in Florida classrooms, banning transgender women and girls from playing on women’ and girls’ sports teams and removing resources for bullied LGTBQ+ students from the Florida Department of Education website.

Just Thursday, the governor suspended the elected Hillsborough County State Attorney, Andrew Warren, for allegedly refusing to enforce criminal penalties against doctors providing abortions or gender-affirming care.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.