The Sunshine State is taking us back to the dark ages.
On Wednesday, April 20, the Florida Department of Health released its latest guidelines that oppose the medical transitioning of trans youth throughout the state. Basically, the DOH wants to deem all medical and social gender-affirming care of people under the age of 18 unnecessary.
The DOH’s new guidance vehemently condemns puberty blockers and all forms of hormone therapy for youth looking to medically transition. The guidance also rebukes any form of “social gender transition” from name changes, pronoun changes, and gender-affirming clothing.
They state that the “treatment of gender dysphoria should be limited to professional counseling and social support from peers and family members.” It cannot be emphasized enough how dangerous these guidelines, if brought to fruition, would be for trans youth. It also puts their parents and the medical care providers who provide gender-affirming care at risk.
The DOH’s guidelines also accuse the federal government of “injecting political ideology into the health of our children” by providing equitable access and resources to gender-affirming care for young people.
The ongoing fight to protect trans youth has been simmering for years, most notably in the fight around sports equality and the onslaught of copycat transphobic and homophobic legislation looking to roll back decades of advocacy work towards equity and justice.
Chase Strangio, deputy director for Transgender Justice for the ACLU’s LGBT Project, has been a leading voice on the attacks on trans youth, which have been building momentum since the passage of marriage equality in 2015. “Our opponents are good at manipulating the conversation and spreading misinformation,” said Strangio, on the ACLU’s At Liberty podcast about how trans issues are being stoked to reinstate transphobic legislature with a new name. “When we start to criminalize access to medical care for trans youth, young folks won’t just be able to leave the state; they won’t survive it,” he added.
It would be a lie to see the attacks on trans and queer youth as just mirrors of two-party politics. They are an unabashed attempt at the erasure of trans and queer people. This moment demands that we actively show up for trans folx everywhere they’re being targeted. How else can we shift towards a world that keeps trans people safe?