Florida advises against transition for transgender teens
Driving the news: The department now advises against hormonal therapy and gender-affirming surgery for children and teens, citing a "lack of conclusive evidence, and the potential for long-term, irreversible effects."
- It also advises against social transition, which could include using a different name or pronouns and dressing differently.
- Children and teens should instead "be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider."
This contradicts federal guidance and guidance from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
- Medical groups including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have condemned state-imposed restrictions on youth seeking gender-affirming care.
Of note: The guidelines don't apply to intersex children, a group for which LGBTQ and human rights advocates don't recommend surgery until the person is old enough to decide for themselves.
Between the lines: The guidance doesn't have any reporting stipulations or requirements for health providers, so as of right now there’s no way enforce it or punish providers for going against guidance.
- Similarly, the department put out guidance advising against pediatric COVID vaccines, but there have been no changes to children's vaccine access.
The other side: LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida told Axios the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis "seeks to replace science and the safety of young people with political propaganda."
- "This guidance demonizes life-saving, medically-necessary care, and asserts that the government, not parents, knows best when it comes to health care for our children. ...
- "Parents should be deciding, in partnership with their child's doctor, based on science, not politics, what is best for their children."
Flashback: DeSantis recently signed a controversial bill banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through 3rd grade.
- Last month he issued a proclamation declaring the Florida-based runner-up in the NCAA 500-yard women's freestyle event the "rightful winner" after Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, won the event.
- A law he passed last year bans transgender athletes from competing in women's and girls' sports.
The backdrop: 2021 saw a record number of anti-trans bills introduced in state legislatures.
- Over two-thirds of LGBTQ+ youth said recent debates over state laws that target transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, according to a poll by the Trevor Project.
Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Check back for further updates.