Jun 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Florida's gender-affirming care restrictions are unconstitutional, federal judge rules

Illustration of a gavel with a trans flag on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Florida's restrictions on gender-affirming care for both minors and adults are unconstitutional and cannot be enforced, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Why it matters: The decision lifts restrictions for transgender adults and overturns a ban on trans children seeking care such as hormones and puberty blockers — considered necessary, sometimes life-saving health treatment by the mainstream medical establishment.

  • "Transgender opponents are of course free to hold their beliefs," U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle wrote in his 105-page ruling.
  • "But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender."

Between the lines: The ruling also marks a major victory for transgender Floridians who have faced numerous restrictions on health care and public expression under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Department of Health Secretary Joseph Ladapo.

What they're saying: "I'm so relieved the court saw there is no medical basis for this law — it was passed just to target transgender people like me and try to push us out of Florida," said Lucien Hamel, a 27-year-old trans man who testified at a three-day trial in December.

  • The mother of an 8-year-old trans boy listed as Gavin Goe in the lawsuit in a statement said the ruling "lifts a huge weight and worry from me and my family, knowing I can keep getting Gavin the care he needs."

The other side: "We disagree with the Court's erroneous rulings on the law, on the facts, and on the science," DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said Tuesday in a statement. He added that the state plans to appeal.

Catch up quick: Gavin was one of several trans children and their parents who sued the state last May over the gender-affirming care ban for minors, which went into effect in March 2023.

The bottom line: Tuesday's ruling permanently blocks enforcement and applies to all transgender Floridians.

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