Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for doctors who perform gender reassignment surgeries on minors to be sued at a Wednesday press conference.
“They talk about these very young kids getting gender-affirming care,” DeSantis said, who used air quotes while using the phrase. “What they don’t tell you what that is is that they are giving very young girls double mastectomies, they want to castrate these young boys — that’s wrong.”
Several of DeSantis’ press reps have questioned the “gender-affirming care” phrase in recent months, arguing that it doesn’t specify the procedures being performed in some cases. And in April, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said minors experiencing gender dysphoria should instead receive counseling to address their concerns.
“You don’t disfigure 10-, 12-, 13-year-old kids based on gender dysphoria,” DeSantis added Wednesday. “Eighty percent of it resolves anyways by the time they get older. So why would you be doing this? I think these doctors need to get sued for what’s happening, I’m sorry.”
Those who support access to the procedures — which also include puberty blockers — assert that they improve the mental health of transgender children.
DeSantis has come under fire from some LGBTQ groups and Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, the highest-ranking transgender member of government, for his positions on a range of transgender issues.
In March, Florida banned school instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation for kids in younger grades, which critics have called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Those against the bill have called for its repeal, arguing that the law leads to hostility toward those in the LGBTQ community.
DeSantis has countered that the material is inappropriate for kids in younger grades.
The debate took center stage after DeSantis yanked Disney’s special tax status after it publicly called for the law’s reversal and pledged to lobby for its repeal.