On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health released guidance on treating children and adolescents with gender dysphoria, noting a number of treatment courses that would not be recommended, specifically those called “affirming care.”
The guidance comes in response to to a guidance titled “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People” released last month by the US Department of Health and Human Services highlighting different “gender-affirming care” treatments that can be used on children and adolescents, including social affirmation, puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries.
The Florida DoH said in its guidance that it wants to “clarify evidence” that was cited within the US DHHS guidance, noting that “Systematic reviews on hormonal treatment for young people show a trend of low-quality evidence, small sample sizes, and medium to high risk of bias.”
The Florida guidance states: “A paper published in the International Review of Psychiatry states that 80 percent of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the nonbirth sex. One review concludes that ‘hormonal treatments for transgender adolescents can achieve their intended physical effects, but evidence regarding their psychosocial and cognitive impact is generally lacking.'”
Citing the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the guidance states: “gender dysphoria is characterized by a strong, persistent crossgender identification associated with anxiety, depression, irritability, and often a wish to live as a gender different from the one associated with the sex assigned at birth.”
The guidance concludes that “Due to the lack of conclusive evidence, and the potential for long-term, irreversible effects” social gender transition and gender reassignment surgery should not be a treatment option for children and adolescents, and that children and teens should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.
“Children and adolescents should be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider,” the guidance states.
“Based on the currently available evidence, ‘encouraging mastectomy, ovariectomy, uterine extirpation, penile disablement, tracheal shave, the prescription of hormones which are out of line with the genetic make-up of the child, or puberty blockers, are all clinical practices which run an unacceptably high risk of doing harm,'” the guidance states.
It adds that children and adolescents with gender dysphoria should seek counseling from a licensed provider, and be given social support by peers and family members.
The guidance notes that its recommendations “do not apply to procedures or treatments for children or adolescents born with a genetically or biochemically verifiable disorder of sex development (DSD).”
The Florida DoH states that its guidelines are consistent with those set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which states that those seeking surgery for hormones for gender dysphoria must be at least 18 years of age for coverage by the insurance.
Florida also noted that the guidelines are in line with reviews, recommendations, and guidance from countries around the world, including France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Finland.
It is currently unclear whether the guidance will outright prohibit these types of gender affirming care on minors. Singing onto the guidance is Governor Ron DeSantis, as well as Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo.
“The federal government’s medical establishment releasing guidance failing at the most basic level of academic rigor shows that this was never about health care,” said Ladapo in a statement, according to Fox 4. “It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children. Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18.”
In a statement to The Post Millennial following the release of the guidance, co-founder of Advocates Protecting Children Maria Keffler said it was a “relief” to see such guidance being published, and that it was “horrifying” to see children be subjected to being “lifelong medical patients.”
“It is a relief to finally see common sense and critical analysis being applied to the issue of whether children should be medicalized because they express discomfort with puberty or with their sex,” said Keffler.
“The abysmal quality of the so-called ‘research’ that has been used to buttress the gender industry’s determination to turn children into lifelong medical patients is horrifying, surpassed only by the unconscionable complicity of people and organizations who should have children’s health and wellbeing as their primary interest,” she continued.
“I hope to see many more states following Florida’s example. We must protect our children from the predatory greed of the gender industry and its medicalization conveyer belt.”