Federal decide blocks ban on gender-based counseling for 3 trans teenagers in Florida

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives pose for a photo with LGBTQ+ and transgender pride flags on the steps of the US Capitol before a vote on the Equality Act on February 25, 2021.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

A federal judge in Florida issued an injunction allowing three transgender children to receive puberty blockers, even though the state has banned sex-based childcare for minors.

Judge Robert Hinkle said Tuesday that the three teenagers, who are children of the plaintiffs in the case, could potentially be given GnRH agonists, called puberty blockers. This lawsuit challenges a Florida statute prohibiting sex childcare that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in May.

Doctors for one of the children say she needs this medical treatment immediately, while doctors for the other two say they will need these GnRH agonists “soon,” the restraining order said.

“The elephant in the room should be noted right at the start,” Hinkle wrote in his decision. “Gender identity is real. The file makes it clear.”

“The plaintiffs’ adolescent children will suffer irreparable harm – the unwanted and irreversible onset and progression of puberty in their birth sex – if they do not promptly begin treatment with GnRH agonists. The treatment will, and will, affect the patients themselves and no one else.” do no harm to the defendants.

The defendants in this case include Florida’s Surgeon General, the Medical Association, the Medical Association of Osteopathy, the Attorney General and each of Florida’s 20 state attorneys.

The DeSantis office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision comes amid a politically tense environment for LGBTQ+ people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 525 bills targeting these individuals were introduced during the 2023 legislative session in 41 states. More than 220 of these actions focused on transgender people.

The organization estimates that more than 30% of transgender youth ages 13 to 17 live in states where they have no access to health care. So far, 20 states have enacted laws or policies banning gender-based grooming for those under the age of 18, the HRC found.

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