Florida Medical Board Meeting Opens Heated Debate Over Limits on Transgender Healthcare

DANIA BEACH, Fla. – The Florida Board of Medicine met Friday to discuss a number of agenda items, but the one drawing the most debate is gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

At its full meeting, held at the Fort Lauderdale Airport Marriott, a petition from the Surgeon General of the State of Florida to enact a rule prohibiting medical professionals from providing gender-affirming medical care is being considered.

A crowd pressing to protect gender-affirming health care gathered outside the hotel, many holding signs. Some of them read: “Give trans kids a happy future” and “Florida Board of Medicine or Suicide Board?”

Inside, people from both sides of the debate packed a conference room.

“It’s as basic as social transition,” said John Harris Maurer of Equality Florida. “Things like names, haircuts, the clothes people wear, or things like puberty blockers that try to delay the onset of puberty so people have more time to consider these kinds of decisions.”

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Jeanette Jennings said her daughter, Jazz, would not be alive today without gender-affirming care.

“She knew with her heart and soul that she was a girl. Transgender children are in danger: between 40 and 50% will attempt suicide. When they are told, ‘You can’t wear this, you can’t wear that, there are no doctors to treat you,’ they become suicidal.”

Many of those who will speak at the Florida Board of Medicine call it “political theater” that came out of nowhere.

Anthony Verdugo, founder and executive director of the Christian Family Coalition (CFC) of Florida, disagrees.

“Once they are adults they can do whatever they want. But minors simply don’t have the mental capacity to make these life-altering decisions. Parents cannot allow a child to smoke, drink or drive a car at the age of three.”

The FDOH said that treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy can have adverse health repercussions, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased risk of cancer and thrombosis.

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Lambda Legal, the Southern Legal Council, the Florida Health Justice Project, and the National Health Law Program issued a statement prior to the meeting, stating that the State Surgeon General’s proposal is unconstitutional and illegal.

“However, the State Surgeon General’s request, biased and politically motivated, is contrary to well-established medical guidelines for the treatment of gender dysphoria, such as those published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Endocrine Society, and the overwhelming medical consensus in the United States and internationally, and would effectively deny essential, medically necessary, and often vital care to transgender people, including transgender youth.”

The statement continued

“Southern Legal Counsel, the Florida Health Justice Project, Lambda Legal and the National Health Law Program urge the Florida Board of Medicine to stop playing politics with people’s health care and not adopt guidelines for a standard of care to treat gender dysphoria that is contrary to the overwhelming and evidence-based consensus that medical care for the treatment of gender dysphoria is safe, effective, and medically necessary.”

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(Local 10 News will have more on this developing story and the outcome of the meeting on its afternoon and evening newscasts and updates from local10.com).

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