In Florida, transgender adolescent treatment is once again under fire

As the country’s culture wars heat up, Florida health officials have asked the state medical board to write new laws that would likely limit gender dysphoria therapies for transgender youth. This would come as the state continues to attack gender dysphoria therapies for transgender youth.

According to the officials, such treatments should not be reimbursed by Medicaid. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said in a lengthy report released Thursday that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgery have not been shown to be safe or beneficial in treating gender dysphoria. The report was signed off on by Tom Wallace, the state’s deputy director of Medicaid.

Florida’s Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, wrote to the state Board of Medicine, requesting that it study the findings and set new requirements for minors considering “these difficult and irreversible treatments.”

“Florida must do more to protect children from politics-based medicine,” Ladapo said.”Otherwise, our state’s children and adolescents would continue to suffer a significant danger of long-term harm.”

Transgender medical therapy for kids and teens is getting more and more bad press. In some places, it’s been called child abuse or outright banned.

Although thorough long-term evidence on advantages and hazards is missing, many doctors and mental health specialists think that medical therapy for transgender youngsters is safe and useful and can improve their well-being. According to federal recommendations, gender-affirming care is critical for the health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary children.

The American Medical Association wrote to governors last year, encouraging them to oppose any law prohibiting the procedure, calling it “a dangerous intervention into the practice of medicine.” According to the letter, medical therapies are one among numerous “supportive measures” recommended for transgender minors.

This isn’t the first time that state officials in Florida have objected to such therapies. Similar efforts have already been made by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, which has embraced battles in the country’s culture war as he seeks reelection and a presidential candidacy in 2024.

Last month, the administration released recommendations rejecting “social gender transition” or gender reassignment surgery for children and adolescents, as well as puberty blockers for anybody under the age of 18.

Last year, DeSantis approved legislation prohibiting transgender girls and women from participating on public school teams designed for students who were born as girls.

The activities have been criticized by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an international group of doctors and others who help transgender people.

Dr. Walter Bouman, the group’s president, said in a statement Friday that “Florida’s onslaught on transgender populations has been relentless.” He pointed out that the association’s U.S. affiliate has previously criticized Florida’s ongoing efforts, claiming that they were ineffective. “They aren’t scientifically sound, and in some cases, they misread or distort available data.”

According to Bouman, “Florida’s health agencies have a responsibility to support residents’ health and well-being, including transgender people.” “Instead, the state has chosen to make dangerous and false reports that hurt transgender people.”