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Florida becomes 8th state to restrict gender-affirming care for transgender youth

Puberty blockers and hormone therapy is prohibited to minors. Current patients are grandfathered in.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida is now the eighth state to restrict transgender care for minors. As of Thursday, the Board of Medicine prohibited puberty blockers and hormone therapy for patients younger than 18.

Doctors who violate the new rule risk getting fined or losing their license. On the other hand, state health officials said it is about protecting children from irreversible harm. For one transgender woman on the First Coast, the recent restriction is another way to target the trans community. 

Erika d'Amore of Jacksonville said her childhood would've been easier if she had gender-affirming care. Nowadays, she does hormone therapy. Something that wasn't accessible to her until she turned 27. Trans-related medical care, to d'Amore, would have given her a normal life. 

"I was miserable, sad, often suicidal," d'Amore explained. "Now I can make it through the day. I can exist. Everything feels right for me." 

She doesn't like the fact medical care for trans youth is restricted. The Florida Board of Medicine enacted the rule and it was implemented Thursday. Back in February, the Florida House Heath and Human Services Committee had a meeting. Dr. Scot Ackerman, a health official from the board of medicine, was one of the panelists. They believe gender-affirming care is a form of genital mutilation. 

"So any physician that the sex reassignment surgery or other surgical procedure that alter the primary sexual characteristics will lose their license," Ackerman said on February 21, 2023. 

The new rule will not impact current trans-patients because they are grandfathered in. However, to d'Amore, the rule changes will be harmful to trans youth. She believes it will prevent them living a normal life. 

"I think it's very important that people know that this is a targeted attack on a very unprotected minority," d'Amore said. 

First Coast News reached out to Florida Health for comment. They responded with a quote from the state surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo. 

“Children deserve to learn how to navigate this world without harmful pressure, and Florida will continue to fight for kids to be kids. This action protects minors from irreversible surgeries and highly experimental treatments. I appreciate the integrity of the Boards for ruling in the best interest of children in Florida despite facing tremendous pressure to permit these unproven and risky treatments.”

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