US NEWS Florida Health Dept. says trans youth should not...

Florida Health Dept. says trans youth should not receive gender-affirming care, contradicting federal guidelines

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Florida health officials said Wednesday that transgender youth should not receive gender-affirming care, a statement slammed by critics as “dangerous disinformation.”

According to the state’s new guidance on the treatment for gender dysphoria for children and adolescents, gender-affirming care including puberty blockers or hormone therapy, should not be accessible to minors in the state.

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The statement takes the measure a step further, stating that “social gender transition” — which includes pronouns or name changes, or even dressing according to a kid’s gender identity — “should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents.”

Florida’s directives directly contradict guidance released by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which states “that gender-affirming care improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse children and adolescents” ˚— an assessment supported by major medical associations in the US, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Speaking about the updated guidance, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said the federal government’s guidance was never about healthcare, but “about injecting political ideology into the health of our children.”

FILE – Florida Surgeon Gen. Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo looks on before a bill signing by Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 in Brandon, Fla. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

The guidance comes just weeks after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the state’s much-criticized “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which forbids discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in primary schools’ classrooms.

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LGBTQ rights groups were quick to denounce Wednesday’s move as yet another attempt at using transgender youth as a way to score political points.

“Governor DeSantis is once again putting political propaganda over science and the safety of young people,” Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, told the Daily News in a statement.

“This guidance demonizes lifesaving, medically necessary care, and asserts that politicians know better than parents about caring for their children,” she said. “Governor DeSantis’ runaway agenda of banning books, muzzling teachers, censoring history, and pushing government control makes the state less safe for LGBTQ families, especially transgender children.”

Jay Brown, senior VP of programs, research, and training at the Human Rights Campaign, said that while he’s not surprised at DeSantis for his willingness to “deny the evidence to advance baseless attacks on transgender youth,” the move is still “appalling. ”

The governor is focused on “making it as difficult as possible to be a transgender child,” he said, adding that “this farce of a document dangerously threatens trans youth and their families, invades families’ right to privacy, threatens medical providers complying with best-practice standards of care, and doubles down on the relentless attacks that transgender youth have faced across the country this year.”

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