The vote by two medical boards has devastated families with transgender children. Some are considering moving out of state.
The appointment in January was a glimmer of hope for Julia Sanderson’s 16-year-old daughter.
It had been three years since the teen had come out as transgender. Like many trans young people, she’d so far only socially transitioned. That meant growing her hair out and using a name and pronouns that align with her gender identity.
|Julia Sanderson, the mother of a transgender
teenager in a Palm Beach County public school,
is furious over the state’s ban on
gender-affirming care for trans youth.
“She kind of hung a lot of her hopes on it,” Sanderson said.
But two panels of doctors appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis quashed those hopes when they voted this month to ban gender-affirming care for Floridians under 18, defying the guidance of most major medical associations in the country and pleas from parents of trans youth and trans people themselves to allow the care to continue. The new rules apply only to new patients, not those who are currently in treatment.
Still, the decisions by the Florida boards of medicine and osteopathic medicine have rippled through Florida’s transgender community and the institutions serving them, shuttering clinics that provided such care, throwing advocacy groups into overdrive, and devastating families with trans children.
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|Florida Surgeon Gen. Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo
before a bill signing by Gov. Ron DeSantis
Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Brandon, Fla.
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)"
“It’s unconscionable and I fear may lead to so much preventable harm,” Dr. Cam Nereim said.
Some families are considering moving out of Florida to more affirming states, while others are trying to shield their children from the, at times, inaccurate and, they say, hateful rhetoric around what it means to be trans.
“It feels really horrible, like, God, we’re nobody,” said Andrea Montanez, a 57-year-old trans woman and advocate from Orlando who has attended the state medical board meetings.
It marks the first time a state has used the medical boards, which typically license and discipline physicians with oversight by the Florida Department of Health, to restrict care for transgender patients. Alabama and Texas lawmakers advanced bills that criminalized such care, but a similar proposal in Florida failed in the last two legislative sessions.
After the Board decisions, Sanderson learned her daughter’s appointment with the endocrinologist had been canceled. Representatives from Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood told her only that they will no longer see patients with a gender dysphoria diagnosis, she said. A spokesperson for the hospital’s parent company said officials were monitoring the boards’ proceedings but declined to say whether they were seeing new patients with that diagnosis.