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Federal judge blocks Florida ban on care for transgender minors

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked portions of a new law in the state that bans transgender minors from receiving puberty blockers, ruling that the state has no rational basis for denying patients treatment. Transgender medical treatment for minors has been available in the United States for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations; however, it has been subject to restrictions or outright bans in many states recently. The lawsuit challenged the law Gov. Ron DeSantis signed shortly before he announced a run for president.

Federal Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction to allow three transgender children to continue receiving treatment, with his ruling narrowly focused on the three children whose parents brought the suit. Attention on the new law has focused on language involving minors, and Hinkle’s ruling focuses on the use of GnRH agonists, known as puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones. The lawsuit doesn’t address other language that makes it difficult to near impossible for adults to receive or continue gender-affirming care.

Said Judge Hinkle: “The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset. Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear.”  He added that those who mistakenly believe gender identity is a choice also “tend to disapprove all things transgender and so oppose medical care that supports a person’s transgender existence,” adding, “there are ris,ks attendant to not using these treatments, including the risk — in some instances, the near certainty — of anxiety and depression and even suicidal ideation. The challenged statute ignores the benefits that many patients realize from these treatments and the substantial risk posed by foregoing the treatments.”  Hinkle said three children in the lawsuit will “suffer irreparable harm” if they cannot begin puberty blockers and that “the treatment will affect the patients themselves, nobody else, and will cause the defendants no harm.”

Editorial credit: Ben Gingell /

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