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Judge rules that Florida’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare is unconstitutional

In Florida, a judge overturns the law banning gender-affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, that was signed last year by right-wing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Photo by Florida-Guidebook.com from Unsplash.com

In the US, Florida’s restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare for minors and adults have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

This decision overturns the law banning gender-affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, that was signed last year by right-wing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. It similarly removes the requirement that transgender patients see a physician in person first for any transition-related care.

Siding with the 11 plaintiffs, including four transgender adults and seven parents of transgender children, US District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee stated that the state went too far when it barred transgender minors from being prescribed puberty blockers and hormonal treatments with their parents’ permission. For him, transgender people are “constitutionally entitled to the legitimate treatment they need”, and – quoting the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – compared those who oppose it to those who were once against equality for minorities and women.

Hinkle cited American medical associations that support gender-affirming care for minors and adults and wrote that “not a single reputable medical association has taken a contrary position.”

“Some transgender opponents invoke religion to support their position, just as some once invoked religion to support their racism or misogyny. Transgender opponents are of course free to hold their beliefs. But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender,” Hinkle wrote in his decision.

Anti-LGBTQIA American politician DeSantis immediately attacked the ruling, issuing a statement that called it “erroneous”, with a vow to appeal to reinstate the ban.

“Through their elected representatives, the people of Florida acted to protect children in this state, and the Court was wrong to override their wishes,” the statement from the conservative politician stated. “As we’ve seen here in Florida, the United Kingdom, and across Europe, there is no quality evidence to support the chemical and physical mutilation of children. These procedures do permanent, life-altering damage to children, and history will look back on this fad in horror.”

The 105-page decision in Doe v. Lapado is the first time a federal court weighed in on the constitutionality of restrictions on gender-affirming care for adults. Last year a federal judge struck down Arkansas’ ban for minors as unconstitutional.

“Gender identity is real. Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria,” Hinkle similarly wrote in the decision. “Florida has adopted a statute and rules that ban gender-affirming care for minors even when medically appropriate. The ban is unconstitutional.”

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