Jul 26, 2023 - Health

Tampa Bay man joins lawsuit against transgender health restrictions

Illustration of a gavel with a trans flag on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four transgender adults, including a doctor from Tampa Bay, have joined a lawsuit challenging Florida's restrictions to gender-affirming health care.

Why it matters: Trans adult patients have experienced canceled appointments and widespread confusion since a new law went into effect in May adding rules for trans adults seeking transition-related medical care.

Driving the news: Lawyers last week expanded a lawsuit against the state's ban on care for transgender minors to include a challenge to the adult restrictions.

Zoom in: One of the adult plaintiffs is Kai Pope, a 51-year-old transgender man from Palm Harbor who works as a hospice physician, according to court filings. His lawyers declined to make him available for an interview.

  • Testosterone and a bilateral mastectomy, or top surgery, caused Pope to experience "a tremendous improvement in quality of life," a court document says.
  • He received a hysterectomy in March in preparation for phalloplasty, or bottom surgery, which was scheduled for September at the University of Miami. However, the surgeon canceled the appointment, citing the new law.

What he's saying: "Each day since the phone call, I wake up feeling like this is a nightmare," Pope said in a court filing.

  • "I have been prescribed treatment that my physician, my surgeon, and my mental health provider have all deemed medically necessary for me, the surgeon stands ready to provide it, and I cannot receive it exclusively because of barriers created by state law."

Flashback: U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle already blocked enforcement of the minor care ban for three of the plaintiffs, agreeing that gender-affirming care is medically necessary.

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