Federal Judge Overturns Key Parts of Florida Ban on Transgender Procedures For Minors

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to appeal and protect children from being ‘chemically or physically mutilated’ in the name of radical ‘gender ideology.’

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down a series of key provisions of a Florida law that banned sex reassignment surgeries, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones for minors, calling parts of the ban unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle on June 11 issued a 105-page order blocking enforcement of key provisions of SB 254, a measure that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in May 2023 as part of a package of bills that his office said aimed to protect Florida’s children from gender politics in schools and “permanent mutilating surgical procedures.”

The measure prohibited sex reassignment surgeries and experimental puberty blockers for children. It also required adult patients who were receiving these types of medications or surgeries to give informed, written consent. The law also required any transgender procedures and medications to be provided by an in-person physician rather than by a nurse or via telemedicine, while also creating a pathway for individuals to obtain damages if injured after receiving sex reassignment procedures or medications as children.

The judge’s June 11 order does not apply to transgender surgeries, only to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, with the judge clarifying that the order’s use of the term “gender-affirming care” refers only to those two types of treatment.

Judge Hinkle, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, wrote in the order that so-called gender-affirming care for minors may be “medically appropriate” and so the Florida statutes that banned such procedures are unconstitutional. He also invalidated several other provisions, including those requiring adults to sign consent forms and obtain transgender treatments from an in-person physician.

The judge wrote in the order that preventing people from pursuing transgender identities is not a “legitimate state interest” and found that the law was created with a “discriminatory purpose.”

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A spokesperson for Mr. DeSantis’s office vowed to appeal the decision, saying in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times that the court was wrong to override the wishes of Floridians who acted to protect the children in their state.

“These procedures do permanent, life-altering damage to children, and history will look back on this fad in horror,” the spokesperson said, adding that Mr. DeSantis “will continue to fight to ensure children are not chemically or physically mutilated in the name of radical, new age ‘gender ideology.’”

“The state has no place interfering in people’s private medical decisions, and I’m relieved that I can once again get the healthcare that I need here in Florida,” Lucien Hamel, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Simone Chriss, director of the Transgender Rights Initiative, Southern Legal Counsel, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the federal court saw the transgender procedure ban for minors and restrictions for adults “for what they are—discriminatory measures that cannot survive constitutional review.”

The office of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who was the primary defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The plaintiffs in the case argued in their May 2023 motion for a temporary restraining order against the Florida law that the bans on transgender procedures for minors violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause because it discriminates based on sex and gender.

Judge Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction in June 2023, arguing that transgender procedure ban for minors was likely unconstitutional as it applied to three children whose parents brought the lawsuit on their behalf.
However, Judge Hinkle in September 2023 rejected a plea from adult plaintiffs who joined the lawsuit and sought to expand the injunction to include blocking enforcement of transgender procedure bans as they related to adults.

In his June 11 decision, the judge sided with the plaintiffs, also invalidating restrictions related to adult transgender procedures.

The judge wrote in the order that the “overwhelming weight of medical authority” supports the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in “appropriate circumstances.”

A spokesperson for Mr. DeSantis’s office disputed this claim.

“We disagree with the Court’s erroneous rulings on the law, on the facts, and on the science,” the spokesperson told The Epoch Times. “As we’ve seen here in Florida, the United Kingdom, and across Europe, there is no quality evidence to support the chemical and physical mutilation of children.”

While some advocates of gender-altering treatments and surgeries claim that they can help people suffering from gender dysphoria, there is little evidence for this.

Earlier this year, a national organization of pediatricians put out a policy statement saying that gender-transition procedures such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones provide no mental health benefit to youth with gender dysphoria.

“There are no long-term studies demonstrating benefits nor studies evaluating risks associated with the medical and surgical interventions” provided to adolescents with gender dysphoria, the American College of Pediatricians said in a Feb. 7 statement. The group prepared the statement after reviewing more than 60 studies.

In his June 11 order, the judge did not address provisions of the law banning transgender surgery for minors or restricting transgender surgeries for adults.

The judge clarified that this is because the plaintiffs did not challenge the transgender minor surgery prohibitions and the adult plaintiff that joined the lawsuit lacked standing to challenge the surgery restrictions for adults.

It’s unclear whether these will be the subject of future legal challenges.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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