HealthDay News — Transgender minors in Florida are now one step closer to not being able to get medical care to affirm their gender. In a heated hearing on Friday, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to begin drafting a rule banning puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries for trans youths younger than 18 years.
This was the next step in a movement that began in April when Gov. Ron DeSantis began efforts to restrict transition-related care. At that time, DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued nonbinding guidance to prevent both “social gender transition” and gender-affirming medical care for anyone younger than 18 years. Another meeting will be held Nov. 4 to discuss the draft, followed by a 28-day approval process, NBC News reported.
On one side of the emotional testimony on Friday was Meredith McNamara, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine who treats transgender people between the ages of 10 and 25 years. She said a June report on the issue by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration was flawed.
“Neither of the authors of the state’s review is a subject matter expert,” McNamara said. “One individual is a dentist. The other is a postdoctoral fellow in biostatistics. At a bare minimum, the systematic review should be conducted by those who are qualified to assess the literature. I wouldn’t trust a dermatologist review of the literature on a neurosurgical procedure, for instance.”
On the other side was Michael Laidlaw, M.D., an endocrinologist in Rocklin, California. The information that he cited was often-criticized research that found 50 to 90 percent of children whose gender identity is not consistent with their assigned sex at birth outgrow the mismatch by adulthood, NBC News reported.
The public comment period also featured conflicting testimony, including eight people who said they had “detransitioned” or now identified with the sex they were assigned at birth after previously identifying as transgender. Only one of those eight individuals had received gender-affirming care when younger than 18 years. Chloe Cole said she had begun transitioning at age 12 years, received a double mastectomy at 15 years, and regretted her decision by age 16 years.
“All the talk about mental health, self-perception, pronouns, and ideology leads me to the question, why is a mental health epidemic not being addressed with mental health treatment to get at the root causes for why female adolescents like me want to reject their bodies?” Cole told NBC News.