ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal judge is blocking parts of a new Florida law blocking gender-affirming care for transgender youths — but only for some of the parties in the lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued the preliminary injunction in the lawsuit against Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and the Florida boards of medicine and osteopathic medicine on Tuesday.
The injunction blocks parts of the new law, SB 254, which bans gender-affirming care for transgender youths, particularly regarding so-called “puberty blockers.” Ladapo, the boards and lawmakers supporting the law said the treatments are ineffective and the risks outweigh the benefits.
The lawsuit was brought by seven parents of transgender children, three of which asked for the preliminary injunction because their children either need the puberty blockers now or will need them soon. The injunction was granted for those three plaintiffs only, so it will not help people outside of the lawsuit.
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The ruling, however, provides a look into the judge’s perspective so far and how he might rule on the case in the future.
In the ruling, Hinkle said the record makes clear that “gender identity is real.”
“The medical defendants (Ladapo, et al), speaking through their attorneys, have admitted it. At least one defense expert also has admitted it,” Hinkle wrote.
Hinkle said the defendants have acknowledged that people who believe that being transgender is a choice are wrong, but points out the defense has also produced experts who say otherwise, and that state employees or consultants have suggested treatment of transgender individuals is “either a ‘woke idea’ or profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry or doctors.”
“Any proponent of the challenged statute and rules should put up or shut up: do you acknowledge that there are individuals with actual gender identities opposite their natal sex, or do you not? Dog whistles ought not be tolerated,” he wrote.
The judge cited already-established standards of care for transgender and gender dysphoria care, including the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical professional groups.
“It is fanciful to believe that all the many medical associations who have endorsed gender-affirming care, or who have spoken out or joined an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in this litigation, have so readily sold their patients down the river. The great weight of medical authority supports these treatments,” Hinkle said.
Hinkle also said the defense’s assertion that these professional bodies supporting gender-affirming care are practicing good politics and not good medicine is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. He said the record shows that bigotry appeared to play a large part in passing the law, even citing a statement by Volusia County State Rep. Webster Barnaby, who referred to transgender witnesses as “mutants” and “demons.”
Hinkle said he is granting the injunction because he believes the plaintiffs will likely succeed in their claim that they had their children properly evaluated based on well-established stands of care, and therefore the state’s law is unconstitutional.
The governor’s office issued a statement, pointing out that the injunction was limited in scope.
“We obviously disagree with the judge’s ruling. We will continue fighting against the rogue elements in the medical establishment that push ideology over evidence and protect against mutilating our kids,” spokesman Jeremy Redfern said.
A jury trial for this case has been set for April next year in Tallahassee.
[READ THE RULING]
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