Sounding the alarm on Anthony Sabatini’s transgender youth medical ban
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Group fears attacking youth based on gender identity will bring dire consequence.

Lawmakers on Monday will workshop a bill threatening legal action against doctors who offer certain treatments to transgender youth. It’s part of a wave of legislation nationwide that has suicide prevention advocates concerned for the safety of LGBTQ youth.

The Health Quality Subcommittee plans to discuss HB 1365, the “Vulnerable Child Protection Act.” As written, the legislation provides criminal penalties for anything from hormone treatment to gender reassignment surgery. The legislation has now been scheduled for a workshop with no vote expected.

But experts at The Trevor Project say this penalizes medical professionals for working with those suffering gender dysphoria. And it could lead more youth to consider harm to themselves.

“The science, research and academic communities agree: gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary youth has positive effects on mental health outcomes and overall psychological well-being, along with decreased suicidality,” said Dr. Alexis Chavez, medical director for The Trevor Project.

“Denying transgender patients this medically necessary care is dangerous and recently proposed bans at the state level would be life-threatening.”

Florida will consider the legislation at the same time similar bills advance in other states. South Dakota lawmakers last week advanced a bill out of committee banning medical treatments for transgender youth. A South Carolina Lawmaker introduced a “Youth Gender Reassignment Prevention Act” in November. And the Governor of Texas in October stepped into a custody battle to prevent a child’s mother from pursuing gender reassignment for her seven-year-old, labeling the move as child abuse.

But at The Trevor Project, which for years has worked to lower suicide rates among LGBTQ youth in America, the sudden attacks on gender identity pose a direct threat. Chavez said there has been a direct link between public policy fights over trans rights and calls to the organization from trans youth contemplating self-harm.

“In 2017, The Trevor Project reported that crisis contacts from transgender youth to its suicide prevention lines more than doubled following President Donald Trump’s tweets regarding transgender military service members and the introduction of a “bathroom bill” in the Texas Legislature,” she wrote in a research brief.

“An onslaught of new bills aimed at denying medical treatment to transgender youth could prove just as detrimental.”

The fear of death by suicide for trans youth isn’t a hypothetical. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released annual mortality and life expectancy data that shows LGBTQ youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide than their same age peers.

Moreover, up to 50 percent of transgender Americans have made a suicide attempt at some point in their lives.

“Suicide is an escalating public health crisis that demands urgent action,” said Amit Paley, The Trevor Project’s CEO and executive director.

“The CDC’s latest findings confirm that suicide rates have increased and further underscore the need for comprehensive prevention solutions, including additional specialized services for LGBTQ youth mental health.”

Moreover, The Trevor Project in June released its own National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, and its findings suggest even more reason for alarm. That research found 39% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months. Some 54% of transgender and non-binary youth considered, compared to 31% of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth.

About 76% of LGBTQ youth said the current political climate impacted their mental health and sense of self, and 71% reported feelings of hopelessness for at least two weeks in the prior year.

In Florida, the fact this new bill could gain any momentum while the Florida Competitive Workforce Act gathers dust in the hopper makes Florida activists angry.

“Some members who still operate from the old playbook that says in an election year it’s open season on the LGBTQ community, and that it’s still OK to try to earn political points on the backs of the state’s most vulnerable people,” said former Rep. Joe Saunders, now the senior political director of Equality Florida.

Rep. Anthony Sabatini, the bill’s sponsor, did not respond to inquiries from Florida Politics. But the Howey-in-the-Hills Republican spoke to conservative media outlet The Blaze and suggested he was trying to prevent harm to young Floridians.

He said “80%of children who experience gender dysphoria outgrow it, but radical leftists want to make it permanent with dangerous medical procedures simply to further a political agenda.”

That number seems to come from recent reporting on a study by gender-dysphoria specialist Thomas Steensma published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2013. The study looked at a set of children who at age 12 were diagnosed with dysphoria, and found that while the condition at an early age can certainly indicate persistent gender identity issues into adulthood, it often is something which disappears over time.

Sabatini to The Blaze accused lawmakers opposed to his bill of putting politics ahead of science.

“Shockingly, the entire Democrat Party has become so radical, that it now defends shutting down puberty for minors and medical sex change for children—it’s mind boggling,” he said.

But Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat and one of three LGBTQ lawmakers in the House, said Sabatini ignores more recent research.

A University of Washington study found that transgender youth who are supported in their gender identity will hit all the same developmental milestones as cisgender youth, for example.

“This bill will push transgender youth into the black market to get health care,” Smith said.

Smith said he has tried to communicate with Sabatini about the bill but to no avail.

“He is making it a crime for a doctor to prescribe hormonal therapy,” Smith said. “This type of medication is common place and is recommended by major national medical associations.”

And Smith worries that whether the legislation moves forward or not, simply holding the policy discussion will pose a public health risk.

“People need to oppose bill,” he said, “but denying trans youth life-saving health care is very dangerous.”

If nothing else, Smith said House Representatives don’t need to be the ones deciding sight unseen what should be the appropriate medical care is that a doctor prescribes to a patient.

“I’m not a doctor. Anthony Sabatini is not a doctor, and he doesn’t understand this issue,” he said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.


8 comments

  • John Kociuba

    February 3, 2020 at 5:34 am

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Transgenders

    These sick bastards use children as ginnie pigs because their mental illness excludes them from having real adult relationships. Furthermore Hetrosexual females & males sometimes manipulate a child into being different sex because they wanted a boy instead of a girl or a girl instead of a boy.

    Moreover the child sex abuse for these children per population capita is massive. These children grow up later to suffer from apotemnophilia therein leading to self mutilation along with a 70% suicide attempt rate.

    Dr. Mengele is homey the clown next to these physicians using children for person experiments.

    • Patricia Malone

      February 4, 2020 at 1:54 am

      John, you have no idea what you are talking about. It would be ever so much easier to discuss issues like this one if you had any understanding of Gender Dysphoria, the medicine and therapy used to treat it. Please spend a few moments learning about the condition.

      From your post:

      1. the physicians and therapists are not “sick bastards”. They are intelligent and educated and compassionate people who are looking out for the well being of their patients. Not everyone who disagrees with you is doing it out of meanness and spite.

      By the way, “Guinea is not spelled “ginnie”.

      2. …”their mental illness…” – You really should go to the American Psychological Association (APA.org) and learn what that term means. Hint: people who disagree with your uninformed and misunderstanding views are probably not mentally ill. I could argue that disagreeing with you might be considered an example of mental health!
      ..
      3. .. “excludes them from having real adult relationships.” How do you know this? You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

      4. …”the child sex abuse for these children per population capita is massive”. Too true. More than a quarter of American women and a significant part of the male population have been victims of sexual abuse at one time in their lives. Preventing child abuse should be given far more attention than it receives.

      Where you are mistaken is connecting two unrelated conditions. If I remember how it goes, “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” (Latin: “after this, therefore because of this”. This is a logical fallacy. If A h happens, then later B happens, it does not mean that A is the cause of B.

      5. …” a 70% suicide attempt rate.”. Source? I will concede that the suicide rate is higher among trans people but look at your own post. Whatever happened to “walking a mile in someone’s shoes”? Have you ever thought about things from the other person’s point of view.

      You seem to have convinced yourself that the entire medical community is evil

    • Aaron Clark

      February 6, 2020 at 4:14 pm

      Please view my post below.

  • Seber Newsome III

    February 3, 2020 at 10:54 am

    They are children, their brains have not fully developed. Once they become adults, they can do what they want, but, not as children. I support Representative 100%.

    • Aaron Clark

      February 6, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      Your point is well taken. Please see my post below.

  • gary

    February 3, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    I have an idea… Why not raise the children as their biological gender till they are adults. Let them choose to make changes as adults! SIMPLE!

    • Patricia Malone

      February 4, 2020 at 1:01 am

      Gary, what happens at puberty? You know this as well as anyone. In the case of a boy he gets taller. His vocal cords thicken causing his voice to drop into the adult male range. He grows more hair, including a beard. Similarly, a girl grows breasts, her hips widen to permit child birth, and she begins menstruation.

      Denying essential medical treatment until adulthood means that the transgender person will have to go through the rest of his or her life with the secondary sexual characteristics of the wrong sex. Waiting as you suggest, means that many trans women will be forced to go through their whole lives looking and sounding like a man in a dress. And why? Puberty’s changes are often emotionally devastating to the youth. This is one of the reasons that so many trans young people commit suicide.reason

      Gary, how do you know that you are a man? The fact is that you’ve known that you were a boy (and now a man) since you were a toddler and have never had to challenge that. Its one of the most fundamental things you know about yourself. Trans children KNOW just as firmly as you do who they are – but in this case body and brain do not agree. Look at the articles below. There are millions of others that will turn up with a Google search.

      No physician prescribes hormone blockers frivolously. Any transgender person (child or adult) has to jump through many medical and psychological hoops including extensive therapy, tests, and real life experiences. No one can just walk into a doctor’s office and come out with a prescription.

      FYI, the same medications have been used for decades in the case of “precocious puberty”.

      Hormone blockers are serious medications that delay but do not prevent puberty’s effects. When the medications are stopped, puberty proceeds as it would otherwise. What they do is to allow the trans person to delay the decision to proceed with cross sex hormones – IF APPROPRIATE FOR THIS PATIENT. Hormone therapy _does_ make permanent changes so they are prescribed only when needed.

      What we have here is a case of a politician who is uninformed about the medical consequences, pushing for laws that affect other people’s entire lives.

      https://www.newsweek.com/transgender-kids-living-identity-develop-cis-children-1471729

      https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

      https://www.washington.edu/news/2019/11/18/among-transgender-children-gender-identity-as-strong-as-in-cisgender-children-study-shows/

      https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gender-dysphoria/in-depth/pubertal-blockers/art-20459075

  • Aaron Clark

    February 6, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    If you really want to know the relevant facts about transgenderism, you need to read an article by Dr. Jack Drescher, a GAY psychiatrist. Dr. Drescher is an expert in gender issues for the World Health Organization, and has also helped write the official position of the American Psychiatric Association on transgenderism.

    In Dr. Drescher’s peer-reviewed, published, scientific article entitled, “Ethical Issues Raised by the Treatment of Gender-Variant Prepubescent Children.” he explores the PREDOMINANT issue which you will never hear from pro-trans articles and advocates.

    https://www.pdf-archive.com/2015/09/10/drescher-et-al-2014-hastings-center-report/drescher-et-al-2014-hastings-center-report.pdf

    That issue is this, what do you do with the ~80% of “transgender” children and youth who “desist”–they change their minds and decide that they are not really transgender?

    I have taught in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college and I have actually taught some of the same students at all the first three levels. Children, even through high school, are fluid, changeable, immature, and unable to make clear,rational decisions about such important, life-changing issues.

    That is why Dr. Drescher, after reviewing the available research says,

    “GENDER DYSPHORIA IN CHILDHOOD DOES NOT INEVITABLY CONTINUE INTO ADULTHOOD, AND ONLY 6 TO 23 PERCENT OF BOYS AND 12 TO 27 PERCENT OF GIRLS TREATED IN GENDER CLINICS SHOWED PERSISTENCE OF THEIR GENDER DYSPHORIA INTO ADULTHOOD. FURTHER, MOST OF THE BOYS’ GENDER DYSPHORIA DESISTED, AND IN ADULTHOOD, THEY IDENTIFIED AS GAY RATHER THAN AS TRANSGENDER.”

    “Desist” is the antonym, or opposite, of “persist.” One important approach aims at the psychological harm done to “desisters” who spend their youth being steered toward transgenderism and then have to make the difficult psychological adjustment when they change their minds and desist.

    “The gender dysphoria of THE MAJORITY OF CHILDREN WITH GD/GV DOES NOT PERSIST INTO ADOLESCENCE, AND WHEN IT DOES NOT, THE CHILDREN ARE REFERRED TO AS ‘DESISTERS,’ who desist by or during adolescence grow up to be gay, not transgender, and that a smaller proportion grow up to be heterosexual.” One approach is evaluated by Dr. Drescher.

    “THEY AIM TO PREVENT YOUTHS WITH NONPERSISTING GENDER DYSPHORIA FROM HAVING TO MAKE A COMPLEX CHANGE BACK TO THE ROLE OF THEIR NATAL GENDER. THEY CITE THE QUALITATIVE FOLLOW-UP STUDY IN WHICH SEVERAL YOUTHS INDICATED HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS FOR THEM TO REALIZE THAT THEY NO LONGER WANTED TO LIVE IN THE ROLE OF THE OTHER GENDER AND TO MAKE THIS CLEAR TO THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM.”

    Imagine the young boy who was steered through transgenderism’s steps, including psychological, medical and surgical steps. Here he is, his genitals removed, his body made feminine through high doses of estrogen. What a tragedy when he discovers that he is not really transgender at all! What will he do? His life is ruined by this early intervention. If only he had been able to wait until the maturity of the legal age of 18 do make his decision! Surely, suicide will seem to be the only solution to many in this situation. And we are talking about the VAST MAJORITY of people who identify as transgender!

    That is why Rep. Sabatini’s bill is so important. It delays surgical and medical interventions until the child is old enough to know what they are doing. Please be skeptical of “trans” people and their co-dependent, enabling allies, even those who claim to do “scientific” studies and avoid any mention of the majority “desisters”. There is a lot of denial in this group and you need to stick to these important facts stated by Dr. Drescher.

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