Florida health department releases guidance on ‘treating gender dysphoria’ in transgender youths

Department advises against gender transition surgery, puberty blockers for transgender youth

Protesters march outside the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, as LGBT advocates protested a bill that would ban gender conformation medical treatments for children under 16. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves) (Stephen Groves, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday released guidance regarding the treatment of gender dysphoria for children and adolescents.

Gender Dysphoria is a medical condition in which a person’s gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth — it greatly impacts transgender individuals.

The guidance states gender transition should not be an option for children or teenagers and took a stand against gender transition surgery, puberty blockers and hormone therapy for anyone under the age of 18.

The announcement comes after Gov. Ron Desantis signed a controversial law last month that restricts instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools.

This new guidance was created using published peer-reviewed data, according to state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo. Ladapo said it is non-binding guidance advising treatments for gender dysphoria in minors.

The guidance does not change any laws or alter any treatments for minors — but the new guidance is concerning to some parents.

Cindy Nobles — the president of PFLAG, one of the largest organizations for LGBTQ people, their parents and families, and allies — said she feels like this is a personal attack. Nobles said she has two children who identify with the LGBTQ+ community and said it’s not the health department’s place to decide what is best for a child.

“Who are we are to question?” Nobles said. “If a child comes to you and tells you this is who I am you listen to your child.”

Florida health department releases guidance on ‘treating gender dysphoria

Nobles said her biggest concern as a parent is mental health.

“I’m afraid that with policies like these that our suicide rates are going to get higher the attempted suicide rates are going to rise,” Nobles said.

Ladapo issued this statement questioning the motives of the United States Department of 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.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls puberty blockers, or hormone therapy, tools that “help reduce gender dysphoria and improve mental health for many transgenders, nonbinary and gender-diverse youth.”

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Florida accuse the Florida health department of “spreading dangerous disinformation about gender-affirming care and trans youth.”

“It is Equality Florida’s role in the state to protect people from discrimination and bigotry. It is our role to help create school environments in an environment in our state at large that is welcoming and affirming to everyone,” said Brandon Wolf, press secretary of Equality Florida

Parents are encouraged to reach out to their child’s health care provider for more information.

“You should still work with your doctor,” Wolf said. “You should still work with your pediatrician to provide the very best care for your child.”

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.