As Florida’s prohibition on gender-affirming medical care for minors comes into effect, parents of trans and gender nonconforming children are vowing to challenge the measure in court.
The state-wide ban, which was passed in June, forbids medical professionals from providing gender-affirming treatments to minors, such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers. The prohibition is being contested by parents of transgender and gender nonconforming children, as well as by several civil rights groups, who argue that the measure is not only discriminatory but also inimical to the physical and mental wellbeing of minors.
“This ban forces transgender youth to suffer and is a clear violation of their rights,” said Kara Gross, the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida. “It is cruel and dangerous, and we will continue to fight it in court.”
The plaintiffs challenging the ban have argued that it is unconstitutional, as it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Furthermore, they have argued that the ban is an affront to the autonomy of parents, who should be able to make decisions about their children’s healthcare without the intervention of the government.
“This ban is an outrageous violation of my daughter’s rights,” said one parent, who requested anonymity. “My daughter has the legal right to make her own healthcare decisions, and I have the right to help her do that.”
The measure has also been criticized by medical professionals. Physician organizations such as the Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association, and the Pediatric Endocrine Society have all denounced the ban, arguing that gender-affirming care is an essential part of providing healthcare to trans and gender nonconforming individuals.
“This ban is a dangerous and misguided attack on the health and wellbeing of transgender youth in Florida,” said Dr. Staci Simos, an endocrinologist and a member of the Endocrine Society’s Board of Directors. “It is an unwarranted intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship and could have serious consequences for transgender youth and their families.”
The prohibition is set to take effect in July and will remain in place until at least January 2022, when it is scheduled to be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court. Until then, parents of transgender and gender nonconforming minors are determined to fight the ban in court.
“We will not stand by and allow this ban to take effect,” said Gross. “We will continue to fight for the rights of transgender youth in Florida and across the country.”