A Florida House committee on Tuesday heard testimony from a panel of doctors, researchers and other people opposed to gender-affirming care for transgender minors.
Republican leaders in Florida and other parts of the country are adopting measures to block doctors from using puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgery to treat youths diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which the federal government defines clinically as “significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity.”
GOP lawmakers in more than half the states are pushing bills to restrict some gender-affirming care for minors, according to Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old “detransitioner” who has traveled across the country speaking out against gender-affirming care for kids, was part of the panel that addressed the House Health & Human Services Committee on Tuesday. Cole, who had a double mastectomy at age 15, warned of “an epidemic approaching” among people seeking to detransition.
“These bills are trying to take away something without replacing it with something else. We have thousands of individuals who regret the transitions, who want to go off these treatments … but they have no idea how,” she said.
Committee Chairman Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, pledged to address the issue during the legislative session that will start March 7.
“I will tell you this. I say these panels are often a predicate for what’s to come. That’s exactly what today was. And I promise you, you will like the bill,” he said.
More than two-dozen medical associations have deemed gender-affirming care to be medically necessary, safe and effective at treating gender dysphoria in minors. But Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans have targeted the treatments.
Florida medical boards, at the request of DeSantis’ administration, recently adopted rules restricting doctors from providing gender-affirming treatments to trans kids. The rules are expected to go into effect next month, Board of Medicine Chairman Scot Ackerman told the House panel Tuesday.
Also, the state Agency for Health Care Administration last year approved a rule prohibiting Medicaid reimbursements for puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery for transgender youths and adults. The rule is being challenged in federal court.
On Monday, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, filed a measure (SB 952) that would require employers that provide coverage of gender dysphoria treatment to also cover “the full costs associated with treatment that reverses such gender dysphoria treatment," even after the patient is no longer an employee, and regardless of the rate of coverage for the initial transition treatments.