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The Florida Department of Health released guidelines on Wednesday advising doctors in the state not to help transgender teens and children undergo sex reassignment surgery or prescribe puberty blockers and hormone treatments.
Citing medical studies that question the safety and psychological impact hormone treatments can have on adolescents, the department said there was a “lack of conclusive evidence” and warned of a “potential long-term irreversible effects”.
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Distancing itself from federal guidelines on the subject, the department’s guidelines 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 not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy”. Additionally, the department said children or adolescents should not undergo sex reassignment as a treatment option.
Instead, the department suggested that those seeking treatment options should “receive social support from peers and family and seek advice from a licensed provider.”
“The federal government’s medical establishment publishing guidance that fails at the most basic level of academic rigor shows it 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 with gender dysphoria should be supported by their family and seek advice, not pressured into making an irreversible decision before they turn 18.”
Last month, the Justice Department sent a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal protections that “protect transgender youth from discrimination.”
“The department and the federal government more generally have a strong interest in protecting the constitutional rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, non-binary, or otherwise gender-nonconforming persons, and in ensuring compliance with federal laws on civil rights,” Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for civil rights at the DOJ, wrote in the letter.
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Florida’s guidelines come weeks after Florida’s governor. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Bill, which prohibits teachers from giving instruction in the classroom about “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.
Last June, DeSantis also signed a measure preventing transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in public schools.