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The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday released guidance that advised doctors in the state not to assist transgender teenagers and children with gender reassignment surgery or prescribe them puberty blockers and hormone treatments.
Citing medical studies that brought into question the safety and psychological impact hormone treatments may have on adolescents, the department said there was a “lack of conclusive evidence” and warned of a “potential for long-term, irreversible effects.”
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo speaks during a press conference at Neo City Academy in Kissimmee, Fla. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Distancing itself from federal guidance on the subject, the guidelines from the department stated that “social gender transition should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents” and that anyone under the age of 18 “should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.” In addition, the department said children or teens should not undergo gender reassignment as a treatment option.
Instead, the department suggested that those looking for treatment options should “be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider.”
“The federal government’s medical establishment releasing guidance failing at the most basic level of academic rigor shows that this was never about health care,” Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in a statement. “It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children.
“Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference May 28, 2021. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Last month, the Department of Justice sent a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal protections that “protect transgender youth against discrimination.”
“The department and the federal government more generally have a strong interest in protecting the constitutional rights of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, nonbinary or otherwise gender-nonconforming, and in ensuring compliance with federal civil rights statutes,” Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for civil rights at the DOJ, wrote in the letter.
The Florida guidance comes weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, which bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.
Last June, DeSantis also signed a measure preventing transgender athletes from participating in female sports at public schools.