Florida medical board votes to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors

The Florida Board of Medicine voted to start drafting a rule that will ban puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries for trans youths under 18.

After five hours of tense testimony and protests, the Florida Board of Medicine voted Friday to start drafting a rule that would bar all minors in the state from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgeries as treatment for gender dysphoria.

Florida’s medical board is the first in the country to pursue such a rule, but Florida is among a wave of states where officials have attempted to restrict gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors.

By the end of Friday’s five-hour meeting, protesters began yelling “Shame!” at the board members, and some of them staged a “die-in” in the lobby of the Orlando International Airport, where the meeting was held.

Protesters stage a "die-in" in the lobby of the Orlando International Airport on Oct. 28, 2022. [Kat Duesterhaus]

The vote is the latest update in a months-long effort led by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to restrict transition-related care for people under 18.

The effort to restrict such care began in April, when DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued nonbinding guidance through the Florida Health Department that sought to bar both “social gender transition” and gender-affirming medical care for minors.

The guidance drew backlash from LGBTQ advocates and medical experts. Accredited medical groups — including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association — have supported gender-affirming care for transgender youths.

Despite that support, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration issued a report in June that “found that several services for the treatment of gender dysphoria — i.e., sex reassignment surgery, cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers — are not consistent with widely accepted professional medical standards and are experimental and investigational with the potential for harmful