Health Advice



Florida families sue state for banning transgender care for youth

Sam Ogozalek, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Health & Fitness

Florida’s ban on gender-affirming medical treatment for youth is unconstitutional, a group of parents and transgender children alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.

The ban violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause because it singles out transgender minors and blocks them from obtaining medically necessary care for gender dysphoria, according to the lawsuit, which was filed against state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine.

The restrictions also violate parents’ rights under the 14th Amendment to make medical decisions for their children, the 26-page lawsuit alleges.

The anonymous plaintiffs are four mothers with transgender children, ages 9 to 14, from St. Johns, Alachua, Duval and Orange counties.

The families want a federal judge to stop the state from enforcing its ban and plan to seek a preliminary injunction to halt the restrictions while the case continues, according to the lawsuit and a news release from the plaintiffs’ legal counsel. The families also want a judge to declare the ban a violation of the 14th Amendment and are asking for attorneys’ fees.

“This ban puts me and other Florida parents in the nightmare position of not being able to help our child when they need us most,” the Alachua County mother, called “Brenda Boe” in court papers, said in the news release.


The Florida Department of Health, which Ladapo leads, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Thursday. Scot Ackerman, chairperson of the Board of Medicine, and Tiffany Sizemore Di Pietro, the Board of Osteopathic Medicine chairperson, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Florida, says the ban will “irreparably harm” the plaintiff families.

The Alachua County mother has a 14-year-old transgender son, called Bennett Boe in court papers.

Bennett has known he wasn’t a girl since the third grade, according to the lawsuit, and after starting puberty became distressed by the mismatch between his body and gender identity. He experienced depression and was hospitalized after a self-harm incident, the lawsuit says.


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