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In an influential win for children suffering with gender dysphoria, the Florida Board of Medicine recently passed a new set of standards for medical professionals that prohibit harmful “gender” interventions for minors.  

The new guidelines, called the 64BS-9.019 Standards of Practice for the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria in Minors, include: 

  1. The following therapies and procedures performed for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors are prohibited
    1. Sex reassignment surgeries, or any other surgical procedures, that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics
    2. Puberty blocking, hormone, and hormone antagonist therapies
  2. Nonsurgical treatments for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors may continue to be performed under the auspices of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved, investigator-initiated clinical trials conducted at any of the Florida medical schools set forth in Section 458.3145 (1)(i), Florida Statutes. Such clinical trials must include long term longitudinal assessments of the patient’s physiologic and psychologic outcomes
  3. Minors being treated with puberty blocking, hormone, or hormone antagonist therapies prior to the effective date of this rule may continue with such therapies. 

Although children who have already received “gender-affirming” care will be permitted to continue with their treatments, the new standards represent a victory for physicians, families, and detransitioners seeking to prevent further harm to vulnerable gender-dysphoric young people. The new standards also protect the conscience rights of medical professionals who object to participating in destructive “gender-affirming care” and strive to align their medical practice with the Hippocratic oath, which requires physicians to provide “beneficial treatments [and] to refrain from causing harm or hurt.”[1]   

The Florida Board meeting included a variety of opinions from speakers on the left and the right but, most notably, testimonies given by “doctors, parents of transgender children, detransitioners, patients, [and] board members” who called for an end to medicalized treatments in minors, “referr[ing] to similar changes in Europe.”[2] For example, the UK National Health Service recently updated its guidelines, encouraging psychotherapy as the primary treatment for new referrals with gender dysphoria.[3] The UK joins Sweden, Finland, and France in implementing new guidelines designed to give children suffering from gender dysphoria a more “holistic” treatment.[4]

The decision by the Florida Board of Medicine was preceded by a substantive evidence review conducted by the Florida Department of Health. In a recent update, the Department of Health states that the evidence is clear regarding the detrimental effects of the “gender-affirming” care model.  According to the Board of Health, “children and adolescents should be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider,”[5] instead of being subjected to treatments like puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or surgeries (which are not limited to but include mastectomies, tracheal shaves, and uterine extirpation). The new standards of practice, however, “do not apply to procedures or treatments for children or adolescents born with a genetically or biochemically verifiable disorder of sex development (DSD).”[6] Many people believe “that intersex disorders “prove” the existence of a “third sex” or that sex exists on a “spectrum,”[7] but this is simply not the case. Rather, “an intersex condition is actually a disorder of sexual development that occurs in utero, not a third sex.”[8] 

Florida joins Arkansas and Tennessee in imposing significant changes and limitations to the practice of “gender affirming care.” Perhaps this is a hopeful sign that many more states will soon awaken to the physical, emotional, and mental harm to minors from “gender-affirming” medical interventions—and ultimately put an end to these destructive treatments.