JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis has collected information from the state’s public universities about the number and ages of individuals who have received or even sought gender-affirming care over the past five years.
Those services include sex reassignment surgery, hormone prescriptions, and other gender dysphoria treatment.
The move was one of the subjects of a Tuesday protest on the campus of the University of North Florida, in which demonstrators criticized the governor’s social agenda which he describes as “anti-woke.”
The January 11 memo from the director of the state’s Office of Policy and Budget to the chairs of all the boards of trustees for the state’s public universities says, “Our office has learned that several state universities provide services to persons suffering from gender dysphoria. On behalf of the governor, I hereby request that you respond to the enclosed inquiries related to such services.”
The memo included an exhaustive list of questions including the numbers and the ages of their students who received or even sought out gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery, hormone prescriptions, or counseling.
The memo made it clear that no information that the colleges turn over should identify any individual students.
Alivia Kalin, a UNF student and a member of that campus’ chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, spoke out at Tuesday’s demonstration.
“Trans students deserve the right to privacy,” Kalin said to the crowd of protestors. “[Gov. DeSantis] shouldn’t be the dictator of our school. He can’t erase what we learn. He has continued to attack the gay community, starting with the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill - and now, he requests the universities for information about trans students, which [the UNF administration] complacently gave him.”
Kalin and other demonstrators called out the Governor’s move as a deliberate targeting of communities that DeSantis’ supporters don’t like.
One former UNF student, identified by their first name only, spoke out calling the move a continuation of Governor DeSantis’ culture war which they say, takes advantage of - and even capitalizes on - people’s poor understanding of gender identity and sexual orientation.
“I know so many kids who don’t want to live in Florida anymore because we’re terrified of what our government is doing,” Oleander said.
It’s unclear how far the information the governor requested will extend. On UF Health’s website, under its Transgender Health Resources page, reads the message, “UF Health is committed to improving the health and well-being of transgender and non-binary individuals in the communities we serve.”
News4JAX contacted the governor’s office, the Office of Policy and Budget, the administration of UNF and the State University System of Florida to ask whether they’re concerned that this information breaches any privacy protections.
News4JAX also asked how this information will be used by the governor but no response was received by the publication of this article.
Outside the political area, the mainstream medical community, including the World Health Organization, does not consider what it calls “gender incongruence” as a mental health problem but rather, one related to sexual health.
Though, the WHO recognizes that the condition and its treatment are wrongly stigmatized in many societies.