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Florida Board of Medicine votes to start writing rules for gender-confirming treatment of minors

Tess Riski, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

MIAMI — The Florida Board of Medicine on Friday voted to initiate the rule-making process for minors seeking gender-confirming therapy, hormones and surgery.

With the exception of Dr. Kevin Cairns, the entire board voted during its meeting in Dania Beach in favor of beginning the rule-making process. The vote follows a petition from the state Department of Health proposing rules that would ban doctors from performing gender-confirmation surgeries and prescribing puberty blockers for minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who has previously advocated for rules banning gender-confirming surgery and hormones for minors, offered support for the Department of Health’s petition at the start of Friday’s discussion at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport.

“Puberty is such an elaborate and confusing time,” Ladapo said. “On the safety, again, it is incontrovertible. There clearly is a level of risk with these procedures, both the hormone therapy and hormone blockers for individuals who are in puberty, and for the surgical interventions.”

The nearly three-hour public comment period, which board chair Dr. David Diamond inexplicably cut short by an hour, ended with crowd members chanting “shame” at the board and security ousting at least one person who attempted to speak once the public comment period concluded.

“You’re lapdogs for the governor,” one man yelled before exiting the conference room. “The surgeon general is a lapdog.”

 

Currently, the state has no laws on gender transition treatment. However, Dr. Michael Haller, chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida, explained that medical institutions such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have established a standard of care that dictates, for example, that puberty blockers should not be given to prepubertal children, that mastectomies should only be offered to children 16 and older, and that genital surgeries should only be offered to people 18 and above.

“This has been pushed to you, the board, as a political maneuver,” Haller said of the Department of Health’s petition. “Trans people have always existed. They will always exist. Whether you choose to acknowledge (them) doesn’t change that.”

Following Friday’s vote, the Department of Health will initiate rule-making workshops with dates and locations to be determined.

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©2022 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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