Watch CBS News

Florida Health Dept. Crafts New Guidelines For Trans Youth

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) - Maintaining that the federal government's medical establishment has failed at the most basic level when it comes to children and adolescents with gender dysphoria, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said Florida's health department has updated its guidance.

Gender dysphoria is a medical condition in which a person's gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

In a release, Ladapo said the department crafted this guidance using published and peer-reviewed data that calls into question the motives of the federal Health and Human Services.

"It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children. Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18," he said in a statement.

The LGBTQ-advocacy group Equality Florida issued a statement that said the DeSantis administration "seeks to replace science and the safety of young people with political propaganda."

"The Florida Department of Health has released non-binding guidance opposing science-backed health care resources for parents of transgender children," the Equality Florida statement said. "This guidance demonizes life-saving, medically necessary care and asserts that the government, not parents, knows best when it comes to health care for our children. And, once again, DeSantis wants the government to intrude into doctors' offices to pander to extremists in service to his political ambitions."

The Department of Health and Human Services released a fact sheet about those treatments. It notes that non-binary and transgendered children face significant health disparities compared to their CIS gender peers and are at an increased risk for substance abuse and suicide.

According to the state's health department, the current evidence does not support the use of puberty blockers, hormone treatments, or surgical procedures for children and adolescents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said that hormone therapy and surgery are not the only methods of gender-affirming care available to children.

Medical associations including the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and the Pediatric Endocrine Society, have officially recognized the importance of gender-affirming care for minors.

Read: Florida Department Of Health Guidance For Treatment Of Gender DysphoriaIn Adolescents

According to the state health department's updated guidance, social gender transition should not be an option for children or adolescents. They say 80 percent of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the non-birth sex.

"It's intentionally mean spirited," said Scott Galvin, the Executive Director of Safe Schools South Florida, an advocacy group for LGBTQ kids.

"It makes them stop asking for help so they stop moving forward with the process," he said.

Francesca D'Amore who transitioned in her forties says she wishes she had the chance to have begun the process as a child. She supports strict guidelines for transitioning, but disagrees with the Department of Health guidelines.

"What they are doing is isolating children, it's so important to accept them.  That's all children want is acceptance."

The updated guidelines are the latest LGBTQ+ controversy in the state.

The DeSantis administration is also under fire for the passing of the Parental Rights in Education law that forbids classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

The law states that "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."

Parents would be able to sue districts over violations.

Critics call it the "Don't Say Gay" law and argue that its true intent is to marginalize LGBTQ people and their families.

A challenge to the law has been filed in federal court in Tallahassee by the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of Equality Florida and Family Equality alleges the law violates the First Amendment and other provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.