US judge in Florida blocks enforcement of state ban on gender-affirming care

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – A federal judge in Florida on Tuesday partially blocked the state from enforcing its recent ban on people under the age of 18 receiving gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy, allowing three transgender children to continue their treatment while hearing a lawsuit from seven families who have filed a lawsuit challenging the law.

The preliminary order, from U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee, applies only to the three transgender children involved in the lawsuit and their health care providers. It will remain in effect while the judge considers the trial. The other four families did not join an emergency bid to block the law because they do not expect to need gender-affirming care in the immediate future.

“Today my whole family breathes a huge sigh of relief knowing that we can now access the treatment that we know will keep Susan healthy and allow her to continue to be the happy, confident child that she was. was,” one of the complaining parents said in a statement, using a pseudonym for their child.

The offices of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Governor Ron DeSantis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Florida medical licensing boards passed bans on gender-affirming care for minors in March, and DeSantis signed a similar ban passed by the state legislature last month. It was the latest in a series of laws passed by Florida and other states restricting many aspects of the lives of transgender people, including medical care, participation in school sports and the ability to change identification documents.

The families said in their complaint that the bans violated their right to equal protection under the US Constitution and the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children.

The children concerned are between the ages of 8 and 14. Two of them have already been prescribed puberty blockers and all of their parents expect them to need puberty blockers or hormones in the future.

Although Wednesday’s order is not a final judgment, Hinkle said the plaintiffs would likely win. He harshly criticized the law as being motivated by “bigotry,” noting that a state legislator had called transgender witnesses “demons” in a public hearing.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York, editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and David Gregorio)

Leave a Comment