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Trans Floridians Take More Action Against Gender-Affirming Care Restrictions

Trans Floridians Take More Action Against Gender-Affirming Care Restrictions

Ron DeSantis and protester

A judge has already temporarily blocked the ban on gender-affirming care for minors, and now trans adults are seeking to block restrictions affecting them.

A lawsuit seeking to overturn Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors has been amended to include a challenge to restrictions on care for adults and a request to block those while the suit proceeds.

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida has already issued an injunction preventing the state from enforcing its bans on puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans youth. But the law, Senate Bill 254, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May, is also interfering with trans adults’ care, according to the lawsuit.

For one thing, it prohibits the administration of gender-affirming treatment by anyone other than a physician, even though nurse practitioners are perfectly capable of providing the care, as they do with other treatments for other conditions, notes the suit, Doe v.Ladapo. As a result, many transgender adults in Florida have to delay or forgo their care, both because there are too few physicians to provide it and because some Floridians don’t live near a physician who does, the suit says.

The suit, originally brought by several trans minors and their parents, was amended Friday to include four adult plaintiffs — Olivia Noel, Kai Pope, Lucien Hamel, and Rebecca Cruz Evia — and to seek class-wide relief for all trans minors and adults affected by the law. Then Monday, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the restrictions affecting adults, which are contained both in SB 254 and rules issued by Florida’s medical boards. The defendants are Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and members of the medical boards.

The plaintiffs are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign. The groups issued this statement:

“SB 254’s restrictions on well-established medical care cause profound harm, serve no legitimate purpose, and reflect gross legislative overreach. SB 254 takes away Floridians’ ability to make important decisions about their own lives and hands it over to the government instead. That should alarm us all.

“In addition to banning established medical care for transgender adolescents and creating criminal and civil penalties for those providing such care, SB 254 enacted severe restrictions on access to care for adults. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse–Nurse Practitioners (APRN-NPs) are critical providers of transgender healthcare in Florida. SB 254 now completely bars them from continuing to treat transgender patients. SB 254 also arbitrarily restricts the use of telehealth for transgender patients and requires in-person consultation for the initial prescription of all transition-related care, a requirement that can be impossible to meet for Florida residents who don’t live near a providing physician. Pursuant to SB 254, the Boards of Medicine have also created mandatory, one-size-fits-all consent forms that defeat the purpose of informed consent by requiring providers to convey false information to their patients and by imposing extremely burdensome, unnecessary, and medically unjustified requirements that transgender patients must meet to obtain even routine transition-related care. Rather than protecting transgender patients, these restrictions intentionally make it difficult or impossible for transgender adults to receive needed medical care.

“These restrictions serve no medical purpose and intentionally prevent transgender people from receiving the care they need.”

The adult plaintiffs also commented in a press release. “I wake up every day feeling like I’m in a nightmare. SB 254 has canceled medically necessary treatment prescribed for me by my medical team,” said plaintiff Kai Pope. “As a physician myself, SB 254 alarms me not only because of the devastating harm it is causing me and other transgender Floridians, but because of the disruption it is causing to our healthcare system.”

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