Florida restricts gender-affirming care on age-basis

The concept of gender has become one of the most discussed topics in the media. There still seems to be a struggle for people to discern the difference between the biological sex of a person from their gender identity, and the government seems to be struggling with this the most.

Last week, Florida banned gender-affirming care for adolescents including puberty-blocking, hormone therapy and surgeries to change secondary sex characteristics. This was decided by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Board of Medicine.

This is not the first legislation from Florida that is limiting transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming treatment. Earlier this year, the state decided that Medicaid would not include coverage for gender-affirming care, isolating low-income individuals.

Yet again, we are seeing political control over people’s bodies. First, we saw the overturning of Roe v. Wade, taking away women’s rights to their own bodies. Now, it’s the ban on gender-affirming care, taking away more personal bodily rights. It seems to me that lately politics have become less about protecting communities and more about butting into individuals’ personal lives. It should be none of their business if a person decides that they want to receive gender-affirming care.

What makes this worse is that this control is over children who are already struggling with finding their identities, much less being denied the right to their true identity by the government. Adolescents seeking gender-affirming care should be a personal family matter, left in their own hands to discuss with their parents.

An argument that the Florida Board of Medicine is pushing to support this ban is that there’s not enough information about the long-term effects of gender-affirming care. In an era of near medical excellence, part of me finds the grounding for this argument weak. As we have advanced, so have our medical procedures, and this can apply to gender-affirming care—which was started around 1918 by German physician Magnus Hirschfeld. That is over a century of developing the way we care for transgender individuals, but we don’t have enough evidence of long-term effects? That doesn’t make sense to me.

A response I can predict from limiting gender-affirming care is a rise in anxiety and depression seen in our transgender youth. Being denied the ability to fight against their gender dysphoria and feel more at home in their own body is alienating.

I agree with Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo’s statement that “Children deserve to learn how to navigate this world without harmful pressure…” Of course, he said this in regard to taking away their access to comfort with their identity, though.

To recycle the statement and make it less contradictory in nature, our children need to live their lives free from the pressure of the government on their personal identities. They need to learn how to navigate this world the way they identify so they can grow into confident adults who value themselves. We need politics to step out of our personal bubbles and focus on more demanding issues of security and the economy, not taking away the rights of people over their bodies.



Photo courtesy of Oriel Frankie Ashcroft, Pexels.