Debate rages as Florida medical board meets to decide limits on transgender health care

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

At its full board meeting, held at the Fort Lauderdale Airport Marriott, a request from Florida’s Chief Medical Officer to enact a rule prohibiting the provision by medical professionals of gender-affirming medical care is under consideration.

Outside the hotel, a crowd has gathered lobbying to protect gender-affirming care, with many holding signs. Some of them read: “Give Trans Kids a Happy Future” and “Florida Board of Medicine or Board of Suicide?”

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

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

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Jeanette Jennings said her daughter, Jazz, wouldn’t be alive today without gender-affirming care.

“She knew with her heart and soul that she was a girl. Transgender children are at risk – 40-50% will attempt suicide. When you tell them, ‘You can’t wear this, you can’t wear that, there (are) no doctors who will treat you”, they become suicidal.

Many of those about to speak at the Florida Board of Medicine are calling this “political theater” out of nowhere.

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

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

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

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Lambda Legal, the South’s legal counsel, the Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program released a statement ahead of the meeting that said the State Surgeon General’s proposal is unconstitutional and illegal.

“The biased and politically motivated petition from the State Surgeon General, however, goes against 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 around the world, and would in fact deny essential, medically necessary, and often life-saving 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 for treating gender dysphoria that is contrary to the overwhelming, evidence-based consensus that gender-affirming medical care for the treatment of gender dysphoria is safe, effective, and medically necessary.

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(Local 10 News will have more about this developing story and the outcome of the meeting in its afternoon and evening newscasts and updates on Local10.com.)

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