Florida Board Of Medicine Votes To Ban Pediatric ‘Gender-Affirming’ Care
Image provided by Chloe Cole

The Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee voted to prohibit trans-identified minors from receiving puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery on Friday.

The committee held a public meeting on the efficacy of pediatric “gender-affirming” care Friday in Orlando. The committee approved a rule that would effectively ban the controversial treatments for minors under 18 in the state, which now moves to the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine for approval.

The meeting exceeded five hours and heard from medical experts Dr. Michael Biggs, Dr. James Cantor, Dr. Riittakerttu Kaltiala, and Dr. Michael Laidlaw on the permanent effects of medical interventions for children and adolescents with gender dysphoria, and the lack of quality evidence to support their use. Dr. Kristin Dayton, Dr. Aron Janssen and Dr. Meredithe McNamara testified in favor of the irreversible treatments. 

Florida Board of Medicine Member Nicholas Romanello proposed the rule, describing how the risks of the treatments outweigh the benefits, a concern shared by the national health departments of Sweden, Finland, and England, who have all abandoned “gender-affirming” care after performing systematic reviews of the available evidence. 

“I believe that based upon the testimony that we’ve heard this morning and the materials in the portal, that the risk of puberty suppressing therapies, cross-hormonal therapy and surgery, those risks outweigh the possible benefits and that there is a lack of consistent, reliable, scientific peer reviewed evidence concerning the efficacy and safety of such treatment,” Romanello said.

The rule would prohibit medical professionals from prescribing minors puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and referrals for “gender-affirming” surgeries. However, the adolescents currently undergoing treatment with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones would be allowed to continue if they agreed to take part in an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved clinical trial at a university affiliated center, according to board members at the meeting.

During the public comment period, nine formerly trans-identifying adults spoke of their  negative experiences with “gender-affirming” care, including Chloe Cole, Cat Cattison, Helena Kerschner, Zoe Hawes, Camille Kiefel, Billy Burleigh, Ted Halley, Rachel Foster, and a male who goes by the online persona of “Shapeshifter.”  

Cole, an 18-year-old detransitioned woman, gave powerful testimony of her experience with puberty blockers and testosterone at 13, and a double mastectomy surgery to remove her breasts at 15.

“Why is a mental health epidemic not being addressed with mental health treatment to get at the root causes for why female adolescents like me want to reject their bodies?” Cole asked.

“I have bandages on my chest today, over two years post-op, because my nipples leak fluid and they stain my clothes,” Cole testified. “I have no breasts. I want to be a mother someday and yet I can never naturally feed my future children.” 

“My breasts were beautiful, now they’ve been incinerated for nothing,” she added. 

Speakers in favor of “gender-affirming” care included parents of trans-identified youth, citing the affirm-or-suicide myth, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked by data analysis.

The meeting was called to an end when activists became unruly and began shouting “lies” at the speakers and “their blood is on your hands” to the committee.

Five trans activists laid down in protest in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. The activists held cardboard tombstones and covered their bodies with transgender flags.

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