Preliminary injunction allows a trio of transgender minors to receive care

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'The statute and the rules were an exercise in politics, not good medicine.'

A federal judge issued a narrow order Tuesday blocking a new state law (SB 254) and rules that prevent minors not currently in treatment from obtaining “puberty blockers.”

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling only applies to three minors whose parents sought an immediate block to Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care, but the action signals that the law itself could eventually get struck down.

In his 44-page ruling, Hinkle pushed back on the assertions made by attorneys defending the ban — which was driven by the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo.

In his order, Hinkle took aim at criticisms of the medical organizations in the United States that have endorsed gender-affirming care. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and at least a dozen more medical organizations have endorsed the care, Hinkle noted.

“The defendants say, in effect, that the organizations were dominated by individuals who pursued good politics, not good medicine. If ever a pot called a kettle black, it is here,” Hinkle wrote.

“The statute and the rules were an exercise in politics, not good medicine. This is a politically fraught area. There has long been, and still is, substantial bigotry directed at transgender individuals. Common experience confirms this, as does a Florida legislator’s remarkable reference to transgender witnesses at a committee hearing as ‘mutants’ and ‘demons.'”

Florida Department of Health spokesperson Nikki Whiting said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Meanwhile, the ruling was praised by Jane Doe, a parent who is challenging the ban on behalf of her 11-year-old transgender daughter Susan Doe.

“My husband and I have been heartbroken and worried sick about not being able to care for our daughter in the way we know she needs. I’m sure most any parent can imagine the sense of powerlessness that comes from being unable to do something as basic as get medical care for your child. Today my entire family is breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we can now access the treatment that we know will keep Susan healthy and allow her to continue being the happy, confident child she has been.”

The families are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign, which issued a statement calling the ruling “a powerful affirmation of the humanity of transgender people, the efficacy of well-established, science-based medical care, and of the rights of parents to make informed health care decisions for their children.”

DeSantis as well as Republicans in the Florida Legislature who supported the ban have sharply criticized treating minors for gender dysphoria, contending the state was protecting kids from politically-driven ideologies.

The injunction applies only to the three plaintiffs: Susan Doe, an 11-year-old transgender girl whose peers do not know she is transgender; Gavin Goe, an eight-year-old transgender boy whose peers don’t know he is transgender; and Lisa Loe, an 11-year-old transgender girl who switched schools after her classmates and teachers refused to treat her as a girl.

The plaintiffs argue the laws violate their equal protection rights and the parents’ due process rights.

While Gavin is just eight years old, his sister entered puberty at age nine so Gavin’s pediatricians referred him to a pediatric endocrinologist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital gender clinic in St. Petersburg, to assess possible treatment with GnRH agonists, or puberty blockers.

According to the ruling, Gavin had an appointment, but it was canceled when the Board of Medicine adopted the rule prohibiting doctors from providing this kind of care. Likewise, Lisa’s pediatrician referred her to a pediatric endocrinologist who specializes in the treatment of gender dysphoria. Lisa has begun puberty.

Hinkle noted another federal court had addressed the matter by issuing a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a similar Arkansas law. Hinkle noted the decision in the case is “on point, well reasoned, and should be followed. But as an Eighth Circuit decision, it is not binding.”

The state defended the law and rules arguing that evidence supporting the treatments at issue is “low” or “very low” quality, that there are risks to the treatment, and that the medical organizations supporting the treatments are biased.

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.


  • Dont Say FLA

    June 6, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Dumbass Rhonda should get a refund on that Ivy League law degree of his.

    This further explains Rhonda having charges against Fried protesting the 6 week ban dropped just to keep an embarrassing judicial overturn out of the news cycle. There’s already one embarrassing judicial overturn in the news cycle for Ron DeSantis.

    Rhonda never backed down until he got embarrassed by the courts and then he backed immediately down from Nikki Fried taking his ban to court.

    Welp, that cat is out of the bag. Rhonda can effectively be counted as having two big, embarrassing legal blunders. He knows his 6 week ban will get overturned. That’s why he acted to keep it out of the courts.

    This guy wants to President of the USA? He can’t even govern Florida within the bounds of Florida law even when he has a super majority GOP legislature changing laws as fast as they can just to exempt him from any law he wants to be exempt from.

    Rhonda, Rhonda, Rhonda. Wow, what a loser.

  • Sunshine Law

    June 6, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    When Ron DeSantis had his GOP super majority change Florida’s Sunshine Law to hide his campaign expenses being placed squarely on the backs of Floridians, did they also provide a cover up for the payouts Floridians will have to bear due to Ron DeSantis’ culture war campaign?

    GOP Ron declares culture war, ’cause that’s evidently all they got. Floridians will have to cough up the money for the payouts. At least Ron is trying to keep his 6 week ban out of the courts.

    Ron’s back down and deferral to Nikki Fried could potentially defer those particular culture war payouts for people harmed by Ron’s legally indefensible, nothing but attention-getting, culture war laws.

  • Michael K

    June 6, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    While the outrageous financial costs of litigation is discussed – we must also remember the tremendous human and psychological toll of the cruelty inflicted on our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and neighbors. Punishment inflicted on people for being who they are.

    There is a broad swath of Florida residents under attack by the Florida GOP and a feckless, uncaring governor, drunk on power and blind ambition. Real people are terrified and traumatized by bigotry, hate, and exclusion. Shame on the white “Christian” nationalists who seem to revel in pain and suffering and their own ignorance.

    The GOP is a sick, perverse and greedy “party” that stands for nothing. To everyone else – when they come after you, who will stand up and say “enough?”


    June 6, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    These disphoric childern desperatly need professional mental health counsuling Not puberty blocker drugs, genetile mutalation, and such perminate life altering “Hollocast Type” of experimental tourture.
    The kids parents would benifit from a good old fashoned @55 whipping and then some professional mental health counsuling of their own.
    And I. Earl Pitts American will leave it to the genteel readers of our beloved host publication F.P. to determine what, if anything, the Judge may need.
    Thank you America
    Earl Pitts American

    • Elliott Offen

      June 6, 2023 at 2:35 pm

      👆 Needs a lobotomy, medication, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, and therapy for psycho.

  • PeterH

    June 6, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Finally a judge recognizes that Ron DeSantis does not have a license to practice medicine.

  • Penny Lane Howland

    June 7, 2023 at 5:40 am

    In my limited experience, I haven’t seen families go about this frivolously. Painful struggle.

  • PaulDF

    June 7, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    Any medical professional that would surgically or chemically castrate a child should be imprisoned. Period. This is horrific, and those that passively stand by while it happens are disgusting.

  • Victoria

    June 7, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    You call this “care”? Minors should not be receiving this kind of “care.” It should be called child abuse given how many adults regret having had this “care.” As painful as a struggle this is for a family, there is too much at stake. I agree that one may be born homosexual and may know this from a very young age, but sex change is something that should not be messed with in my opinion medically while one is a minor.

Comments are closed.


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