Those under 18 years of age should not be allowed to receive any form of gender-affirming care, Florida’s Department of Health said on Wednesday, contradicting a recent Health and Human Services (HHS) Department fact sheet, The Hill has reported.
The state’s health department issued new guidance stressing that minors should not be permitted medications such as puberty blockers and hormones, nor “social gender transition” like name or pronoun changes.
Instead, Florida insisted that the only treatment of gender dysphoria for minors should be professional counseling and social support from peers and family that does not include encouraging them to change their name or pronouns or wear gender-affirming clothing.
The guidance was in direct contrast to a fact sheet issued by the HHS that said gender-affirming care “improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse children and adolescents.”
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in a news release that “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. It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children."
He added that "children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18.”
Florida’s Health Department emphasized in its guidance that minors should not be permitted to access gender-affirming care, because the brain's prefrontal cortex – the section that carries out executive functions such as decision making – is not fully developed until a person is 25 years old.
The state guidance also stated that giving gender-affirming medical treatments to those under 18 years of age boosts the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk and thrombosis.
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