Florida’s Ron DeSantis asks medical board to ban trans youth healthcare in latest cruel attack

Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ administration has demanded the state’s board of medicine bar young trans people from accessing live-saving healthcare.

In a 2 June letter obtained by NBC News, DeSantis’ surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, urged the board to block young trans and gender non-conforming people from receiving gender-affirming healthcare.

It follows and draws on ‘guidance’ issued by the Florida Department of Health on 20 April that suggested under-18s should not be allowed to even “socially transition”.

The June letter said that to support the healthcare needs of trans people would be to “follow a preferred political ideology instead of the highest level of generally accepted medical science”. 

“I encourage the Board to review the Agency’s findings and the Department’s guidance to establish a standard of care for these complex and irreversible procedures”, Ladapo concluded.

The letter was sent just hours after the release of a disturbing report authored by DeSantis and state secretary Simone Marstiller which attempted to justify the exclusion of gender-affirming healthcare from Medicaid coverage

According to NBC News, these attacks were likely colluded so that “DeSantis can act quickly and without the need for legislative approval” when he is given the opportunity to outlaw gender-affirming healthcare for young people.

Equality Florida condemned the report, describing it as “a crusade to deny Floridians their freedom to access health care”.

“The trans community, like all people, shouldn’t have their access to basic, medically necessary, and often life-saving care stripped away by extremist politicians hoping to stoke right-wing fervor”, the organisation wrote on Twitter.

DeSantis backed the horrific ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which bans Florida teachers from discussing topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation with their students.

Florida is one of nearly two dozen states that has attempted to prevent trans youth from accessing gender-affirming healthcare according to the Movement Advancement Project

Despite right-wing fears surrounding gender-affirming healthcare, a May 2022 report found that an overwhelming number of young people who socially transitioned still identify as trans years later. 

Meanwhile in the UK, the Supreme Court in May rejected an attempt to deny trans kids access to life-saving puberty blockers following the reversal of the 2020 Bell v Tavistock ruling.

The initial ruling, came after Keira Bell took legal action against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service after being prescribed puberty blockers. The court sided with Bell, restricting access to blockers, but this ruling was overturned in 2021 after an NHS appeal.

Bell unsuccessfully appealed against the latter ruling, meaning puberty blockers continue to be available to young trans and gender non-conforming people in the UK.