ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) on Wednesday released guidance that said treatment such as puberty-blocking medication and hormone therapy should not be used for transgender youths, clashing with federal officials over the issue.
The document posted Wednesday is called the "Treatment of Gender Dysphoria for Children and Adolescents." Gender dysphoria is when a person feels that their gender at birth does not match their identity.
In the memorandum, FDOH said hormones, puberty blockers and surgery are not recommended for anyone under 18. Going a step further, it also said social gender transitioning should not be a treatment option.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo also issued a statement blasting federal directives that backed treatment for transgender youths.
"It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children," Ladapo said. "Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18."
Dennis Jara, who lives in Osceola County, said his daughter began thriving after transitioning in first grade.
"Her demeanor completely changed once we let her start growing her hair out, wearing dresses. She thrived as a child, does extremely well in school," Jara said. "We’ve seen the effects of it… just letting her transition and be who she is. You’re taking that away from a child. Why? Because society is saying you can’t be that way?"
FDOH said its guidance is in response to a federal fact sheet released on healthcare for trans kids – which states gender-affirming care can be beneficial.
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."
Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, supports the state’s stance and said he plans to introduce a bill making it illegal to provide trans youth with any physical medical treatment such as hormones or surgery.
"I think they understand that biology is biology. You’re a boy or you’re a girl. I respect where the state is going with this," Fine said.
Some information taken from the News Service of Florida.