Kat Duesterhaus / firstname.lastname@example.org / 772-267-6353
Chrisi West / email@example.com / 703-517-6780
FLORIDA — On September 30th, 2022, members of the DeSantis-appointed Florida Board of Medicine will draft a new rule likely to ban gender-affirming care for trans and gender-diverse youth throughout the state. Additionally, the Board may impose new restrictions for adults.
The ERA Coalition joined hundreds of organizations, groups, public officials, spiritual leaders, and healthcare professionals who signed on to an open letter opposing the Florida Board of Medicine’s politically-motivated meddling in gender-affirming care. The letter, published today on wontbesilenced.org, details the robust body of scientific research that demonstrates the life-saving benefits of this care, and condemns the collective attempts made by the Florida Board of Medicine, Surgeon General Ladapo, the Florida Department of Health, and Governor Ron DeSantis to restrict access.
“The ERA Coalition supports the right to gender-affirming health care for all who want or need it,” said ERA Coalition president and CEO, Zakiya Thomas. “We cannot say we stand for feminism and equality if that feminism and equality isn’t intersectional. We stand by our trans brothers and sisters.”
The letter also condemns the Florida Board of Medicine’s handling of the August 5th, 2022 meeting in Broward County, including their decision to end public comment early. This silenced dozens of trans Floridians, family members, and allies who had waited hours to speak about the importance of protecting access to gender-affirming care. Several trans and non-binary Floridians denied the opportunity to speak at the meeting co-authored the letter. They wrote, “We won’t be silenced, and we won’t be silent.”
“I wanted to tell them that this care will keep kids off the streets, out of the hands of traffickers, safer from assault, hunger, and disease,” said JC, a trans woman who was physically removed from the meeting for speaking up after the Board ended public comment early. “I know because that is what I had to go through to access the care I needed. You may think it’s not important, but gender-affirming care is a life or death issue.”
Gender-affirming care refers to a range of supports that affirm a patient’s gender identity, such as pubertal suppression (for minors), hormonal and surgical treatments, and access to social transition. Providers in Florida who administer this care already follow robust guidelines set forth by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Legal experts suggest that restricting or banning access for gender-diverse patients could be considered discriminatory and even unconstitutional, as the new rule would not impede access for cisgender patients seeking some of these same treatments (for conditions such as precocious puberty, PCOS, and gynecomastia).
Activists plan to rally at the Board of Medicine’s rule-making meeting scheduled for September 30th from 8am-12pm. The public can sign a petition in support of gender-affirming care and RSVP for the rally at wontbesilenced.org.