Less than a month after “Don’t Say Gay” became law, the Florida Department of Health released its memo attempting to provide a scientific explanation for denying gender-affirming care. Then in June, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration also issued a new policy that no one, not even adults, would be able to access gender-affirming care through Medicaid. Rather than referring to the overwhelming body of research that shows positive outcomes of gender-affirming care, Florida instead commissioned hundreds of pages of new material—which did not go through a standard peer-review process—to justify the change. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo then wrote the state medical board and used these documents as the basis to “[recommend] against certain pharmaceutical, non-pharmaceutical, and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria.”
“NO, this is NOT an appropriate use of our work. This does not mean denying transgender youth and certainly not gender-affirming care!”
Doctors speak out
Another grossly misrepresented study in Florida’s memo relates to social transition. “Social gender transition should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents,” the memo reads, linking to an article called “Not social transition status, but peer relations and family functioning predict psychological functioning in a German clinical sample of children with Gender Dysphoria,” published in the medical journal Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
“It seems rather disingenuous for the Florida Department of Health to be using what they presumably know to be an out-of-date statement to support a blanket ban on gender-affirming care.”
When asked for comment about Florida’s rationale for denying gender-affirming care to minors, Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for the state’s Department of Health, said the data squarely supported the state’s policy.
“There are not a lot of double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials going on in pediatrics, because it's unethical. The kids who are getting the placebo are going to know it.”