For thousands of young people in America
(CNN)The Florida Department of Health now says a vital kind of medical care known as gender-affirming care should not be an option for children and teens, even though every major medical association recommends such care and says it can save lives.
Why Care is Necessary
the US Health and Human Services Department Office of Population Affairs says. Delaying care can exacerbate stressors and health problems for kids.
"For transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents, early gender-affirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being,"
The department's new guidelines suggest that children should be provided social support from peers and family and should seek counseling. But it says they should be denied treatments that can be a part of this care, including calling the child or teen by the name and pronoun they prefer and allowing them to wear clothing or hairstyles that match their gender identity.
Gender-affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that uses a multidisciplinary approach to help a person transition from their assigned gender -- the one the person was designated at birth -- to their affirmed gender -- the gender by which one wants to be known.
By one estimate, more than 58,000 transgender youth 13 and older across the US are facing restricted access or proposals, and could soon lose access to gender-affirming care.
Those 58,000 live in 15 states that have enacted or are considering laws to restrict access by, in some cases, even penalizing health care providers and families who try to get such care, according to UCLA's Williams Institute, which conducts independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. These states are home to nearly a third of the nation's transgender youth.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate any instances of certain procedures used in such care, on the grounds that it is now considered child abuse according to an opinion issued by state Attorney General Ken Paxton. A Texas judge granted the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order, preventing the state from enforcing the order for now.
Despite the legislative push to end this kind of treatment, gender-affirming care is a recommended practice for people who identify as transgender, meaning they identify with a gender that is different than the one assigned at birth, or gender-diverse, with a gender expression that doesn't strictly match society's traditional ideas about gender.