Florida Board of Medicine takes aim at treatments for transgender youths
It became just a little tougher for transgender youth in Florida.

young person with a transgender pride flag
Board of Medicine Vice Chairman and Fort Lauderdale physician Kevin Cairns was the only Board member to oppose the rulemaking.

Members of the state medical board have agreed to initiate rules that could ban physicians from providing gender-affirming care to transgender people under the age of 18, while also limiting access to care to adults.

The vote by the Board of Medicine on Friday means the Board will begin a several month process that Chairman and Winter Park physician David Diamond said would include public meetings across the state. 

It’s not clear when the Board will begin the rulemaking process. The Board members were escorted out a back door and did not answer questions. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health says the Board members had been consistently threatened. 

Board of Medicine Vice Chairman and Fort Lauderdale physician Kevin Cairns was the only Board member to oppose the rulemaking, which was sought by Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo.

Cairns noted that the proposed language that Department of Health General Counsel John Wilson submitted for consideration all but denies health care to transgender children.

“As a Board, we have to be sensitive to a stigma as a Board that we may cause by completely denying care,” he said.

Diamond said the Board’s decision to initiate rulemaking does not mean that it will endorse the broad language the Department of Health included in its petition. That language would preclude physicians from providing hormone therapy and hormone antagonists to anyone under the age 18. It also would ban sex reassignment surgery or any other surgery for people under the age of 18.

The DOH recommendations also would require adults to wait 24 hours before having any procedure.

Gender dysphoria is a term that describes a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This sense of unease or dissatisfaction may be so intense it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life.

Gender-affirming care includes an array of services that may include medical, surgical, mental health, and nonmedical services for transgender and nonbinary people. 

Proponents maintain that early gender-affirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being as it allows the child or adolescent to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence.

There are three centers in Florida where patients can receive gender-affirming care: University of Florida, All Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. According to data provided to Diamond, roughly 86 are receiving puberty blockers, 177 patients are receiving estrogen and 481 are receiving testosterone.

Prior to appearing before the Board, Ladapo told reporters that his recommendations are “aligned with the truth.”

“By truth I mean truth in science, in terms of what we actually know versus what people want to happen,” Ladapo said. “I feel like this is a recurring theme. Unfortunately, it is a recurring theme where we are seeing political beliefs overtake scientific reasoning, scientific data.”

In lieu of those services, Ladapo said transgender children should instead receive counseling.

Friday’s meeting in Fort Lauderdale was not the typical Board meeting, which generally is attended by physicians who have to appear before the Board and their legal representatives. Occasionally, patients who are treated by the physicians who are being disciplined also appear at the meetings.

There were at least half a dozen deputies from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office at the meeting. There also were security guards provided by the hotel. And one person was removed from the meeting for addressing the Board members after Diamond cut public testimony off early.  As she was removed from the room yelling “don’t touch me,” the crowd started chanting “bulls**t.”

More than 200 people who were aligned with Equality Florida and other transgender friendly organizations held a press conference before the meeting to discuss the importance of access to transgender care. Among them was Jeanette Jennings, a mother of a 21-year-old transgender daughter, Jazz Jennings.

Jennings said when Jazz, who was assigned male at birth, identified as a girl when she was just two years old, something she thought was just a phase. Jazz continued to identify as a girl into her threes and started to have nightmares that she would get facial hair.

Jennings said she took Jazz to “doctor after doctor” who advised her to follow Jazz’s lead. She also independently read books and educated herself. When she was about five years old, Jazz started to socially transition.

“I wanted a living child. I wanted my child to live. And I wanted her to live a happy childhood and not to be suicidal and not to be depressed and fight every day to show the world who she was. She’s a girl,” Jennings said.

Jennings wasn’t the only mother of a transgender child at the press conference. Tona Wingle’s transgender son turned 21 last week. 

Wingle approached Jennings after the press conference to thank her.

“I wanted to acknowledge her because as parents, we go through a lot,” said Wingle. “We simply want to raise our kids without government interference. This has nothing to do with politics. This is a human life.”

Neither Jennings nor Wingle wanted to disclose where they live other than to say “South Florida” because they feared retribution.

But Wingle did say that when her son graduates from Nova Southeastern University they will move out of the state.

“I will be out of this state in two years because of this. My son will finish with a degree from Nova and we will be leaving because we have to live in a state that’s safe. And this state is not,” she said.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


18 comments

  • Elliott Offen

    August 5, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Yeah Florida is a tick on America’s nut sack. Under the GOP it’s a nasty grifter state. Grifts federal funds, grifts tourists, grifts workers, grifts stupid people with right wing propaganda….next no civil or human rights. GOP shills for the rich must be annihilated. All they do is take and assist the rich with hoarding.

    Reply

  • Emily Katzenbach

    August 5, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    This is a complicated topic with extremes in both sides. Yes, there are truly transgender youth. There are also youth who going through normal identity crisis May feel pressured to move a transgender route before truly ready. Somehow, there has to be a way to respect mental health and medical care for all of it. Psychotherapist Emily Katzenbach

    Reply

    • Todd20036

      August 6, 2022 at 9:52 am

      If you think parents start the process of changing a kids gender before every possible Avenue is explored and specialists are consulted , then you really don’t know what you are talking about

      Reply

      • Paul Passarelli

        August 7, 2022 at 12:25 pm

        Todd, The fact that the *RARE* condition of *ACTUAL* transgender (or other chromosomal-mismatch disease) in youth has managed to make it into the mainstream, is a pretty clear indication that you are wrong, and that the real problem is a far more pernicious and destructive type of mental instability that has penetrated the popular culture.

        Where is the advocacy for the surgical ‘correction’ of Down’s Syndrome children? A simple cosmetic procedure to remove excess fatty tissue, correct ocular misalignment, tighten up the soft palate, and just give then a decent haircut, would remove much of that stigma.

        Of course I’m not advocating for either, but you are arguing ‘quality of life’ issues, so I want to know why your position is so logically inconsistent?

        Reply

  • Paul Passarelli

    August 5, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    Finally! A medical board that is taking the hippocratic oath seriously. You know that one that starts with ‘First do no harm.’ Allowing a a board to encourage minors about the chemical or surgical alteration of their bodies to fit their confused and immature minds certainly qualifies as harm. What the groomers call accommodation, or affirmation of a dysphoria, some of us call destructive enablement. The audacity of some to call enablers ‘care givers’ is simply vile.
    However, I’m not insensitive. Once the child attains the age of majority, they are free to pursue whatever remedies that any other legal adult can obtain. The only barrier would be their ability to pay for such treatments. Here I would take sides with a parent that chose not to authorize the insurance they once provided for their minor children to be squandered on anything so distasteful as gender reassignment. Why? Because even at 18 years of age, the ‘child’ is still incapable of making any type of informed decision regarding their gender.

    I can’t wait to fend off the slings & arrows from this one.

    Reply

    • Robert in Chicago

      August 7, 2022 at 8:13 am

      A few facts seem to be in order.

      The normal course of treatment starts with counseling when the child shows signs of identifying with a gender that does not match their physical sex. Once a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is confirmed, puberty blockers are administered beginning, ideally, just before the onset of puberty, followed by hormone treatments, generally starting around age 16. I know of no instancce where anyone has performed genital surgery on a minor child — that’s just another right-wing scare tactic. That decision is left to the individual once they have reached he age of majority and is entirely elective.

      As for 18 year-olds not being able to make that decision — they can vote, they can serve in the military, they can sign contracts, they can marry, but they can’t make decisions aout ttheir own lives? Really?

      It seems to me that banning appropriate and necessary medical care for children is the real violation of the Hippocratic oath.

      Reply

  • David in Shoreline

    August 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    This should be an easy call. We don’t lobotomize people any more. We shouldn’t be going down a similarly disgraceful path with our children.

    Reply

  • PeterH

    August 6, 2022 at 1:56 am

    If transgender youth are socially isolated from their gender identity 49% commit suicide.

    VOTE REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE.

    Reply

    • PeterH

      August 6, 2022 at 2:50 am

      Sorry the average is about 40% suicide. Typo. So try to imagine that you’re a transgender child ….. the Florida government has just said you do not exist. Imagine the school bullying. God this Republican administration needs to be removed from office.

      Reply

    • Paul Passarelli

      August 6, 2022 at 5:32 pm

      I bet 57% of the left side of your brain made up that 49% statistic on the spot.

      Reply

  • maritza

    August 6, 2022 at 11:47 am

    About time the Florida Board of Medicine stopped endorsing quackery.

    Reply

  • Don’t Look Up

    August 6, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    Yet another dangerous example of Desantis and his state machinery – rife with conflict-of-interest violations – claiming to discredit experts, making up its own alternative facts for the purpose of disenfranchising vulnerable populations of already-marginalized people, for the principal benefit of his politically-driven agenda. disgusting and shameful. how can meaningful cooperation in a democracy ever happen if a sizable proportion of the citizenry insists on fabricating and promoting its own versions of reality?

    DO FLORIDA FAMILIES A HUGE FAVOR!

    Vote all Republicans out of office!

    Reply

    • Paul Passarelli

      August 6, 2022 at 5:36 pm

      Or you could leave. The pastures are so much greener in the Leftists delusional world. I bet you can fins a house in California really cheap if you are willing to trade locations with a nice Conservative family looking to escape the lunacy.

      Don’t ruin Florida, by trying yo turn it into a Leftist insane asylum.

      Reply

      • Joe Corsin

        August 6, 2022 at 11:18 pm

        ^ Neo nazi terrorist asshole. Passa tha greasy Passarelli!!!!!

        Reply

  • Zarrakan Carvin

    August 6, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Zarrakan Yue’s Transition Guide is an excellent resource for transgender topics, is what I base 3 Paths Of Transitioning on, and I make monthly updates to both to keep them current. Post their links everywhere “transgender” is mentioned to educate people about this medical condition, and fight bigotry. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1l4MVgUp4yGqJjFN54wuYtRNu2RjsZEBT/view
    https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1iLJuEZyt6iwV686MhOyuY9hGD7EDDkeH/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=103844952914675181949&rtpof=true&sd=true

    Reply

    • Paul Passarelli

      August 7, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      If life among normals is so terrible, then why don’t you go form a colony somewhere else. Everyone will be accommodating because everyone there will have had reason to flee the ‘oppression’ of life in a normal community.

      In centuries past people of faith fled their oppressive peers so that they could enjoy the freedom to practice their beliefs far away from those that ‘didn’t understand them’.

      Stop trying to insist hat those of us who fit the definition of ‘normal’ must not only tolerate but embrace your delusions / deviant mindsets.

      Please take that lesson from history. I wish you well on your departure. We’ll all be happier if you are correct. And those of us that don’t agree with you will still be happier.

      Reply

  • Paul Passarelli

    August 7, 2022 at 11:06 am

    Sticks & Stones … Joe Corsin,
    I did a quick search to see if you have ever contributed anything of value to the forum, and came up empty.

    And that’s all the credence your words will get from this point forward.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories