Florida Board of Medicine targets treatments for transgender youth

Members of the state medical board have agreed to adopt rules that could ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender people under the age of 18, while limiting access to care for adults.

The medicine board’s vote on Friday means the board will begin a months-long process that the president and Winter Park doctor David Diamond said would include public meetings across the state.

It is unclear when the Council will begin the rule-making process. The jury members were escorted through a back door and did not answer questions. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health said board members had been constantly threatened.

Vice President of the Board of Medicine and Physician of Fort Lauderdale Kevin Cairns was the only member of the board of directors to oppose the development of rules, which was requested by the governor. Ron DeSantis and State Medical Officer Joseph Ladapo.

Cairns noted that the wording proposed by the General Counsel of the Department of Health John Wilson submitted for review, but denies health care to transgender children.

“As a board, we need to be sensitive to the stigma we can cause by refusing care altogether,” he said.

Diamond said the board’s decision to undertake rulemaking does not mean it will endorse the general language the Department of Health has included in its petition. This wording would prevent doctors from providing hormone therapy and hormone antagonists to anyone under the age of 18. It would also ban sex reassignment surgery or any other surgery for people under the age of 18.

DOH recommendations would also require adults to wait 24 hours before having a procedure.

Gender dysphoria is a term that describes a feeling of unease a person may experience due to a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This feeling of unease or dissatisfaction can be so intense that it can lead to depression and anxiety and negatively impact daily life.

Gender-affirming care includes a range of services that may include medical, surgical, mental health, and non-medical services for transgender and non-binary people.

Proponents argue that gender-affirming early care is essential to overall health and well-being, as it allows the child or adolescent to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence.

There are three centers in Florida where patients can receive gender-affirming care: University of Florida, All Children’s Hospital, and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. According to data provided to Diamond, approximately 86 patients receive puberty blockers, 177 patients receive estrogen, and 481 receive testosterone.

Before appearing before the Council, Ladapo told reporters that his recommendations were “in accordance with the truth”.

“By truth, I mean the truth in science, in terms of what we actually know versus what people want to happen,” Ladapo said. “I feel like it’s a recurring theme. Unfortunately, it’s a recurring theme where you see political beliefs taking precedence over scientific reasoning, scientific data.

Instead of these services, Ladapo said transgender children should receive counseling instead.

Friday’s meeting in Fort Lauderdale was not your typical Board meeting, usually attended by physicians who must appear before the Board and their legal representatives. Occasionally, patients treated by physicians who are subject to disciplinary action also attend meetings.

There were at least half a dozen deputies from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office at the meeting. There were also security guards provided by the hotel. And one person was removed from the meeting for addressing board members after Diamond cut off public testimony early. As she stormed out of the room shouting ‘don’t touch me’, the crowd started chanting ‘bulls**t’.

More than 200 people who were aligned with Equality Florida and other transgender-friendly organizations held a press conference before the meeting to discuss the importance of access to transgender care. Among them was Jeanette Jenningsmother of a 21 year old transgender daughter, Jazz Jennings.

Jennings said when Jazz, who was assigned male at birth, identified as female when she was just two years old, something she thought was just a phase. Jazz continued to identify as a girl until age three and began having nightmares of having facial hair.

Jennings said she took Jazz to “doctor after doctor” who advised her to follow Jazz’s lead. She also read books independently and educated herself. When she was about five years old, Jazz began her social transition.

“I wanted a living child. I wanted my child to live. And I wanted her to have a happy childhood and not be suicidal and not be depressed and fight every day to show the world who she was. She’s a girl,” Jennings said.

Jennings wasn’t the only mother of a transgender child at the press conference. Tona Wingle transgender son turned 21 last week.

Wingle approached Jennings after the press conference to thank her.

“I wanted to thank her because as parents we go through a lot,” Wingle said. “We just want to raise our children without government interference. It has nothing to do with politics. It is a human life.

Neither Jennings nor Wingle wanted to reveal where they lived other than to say “south Florida” because they feared reprisals.

But Wingle said when her son graduates from Nova Southeastern University, they will leave the state.

“I will be out of this state in two years because of this. My son will end up graduating from Nova and we will be leaving because we have to live in a safe state. And this state is not,” she said.


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