Members of the transgender community and their parents fear for the future in the aftermath of a ban on gender-affirming care for minors in Florida.
The ban, which can include the administration of puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and gender-affirming surgery, came after a decision last month from the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, according to Yahoo News.
Rebecca Davis, a mother of a 16-year-old who takes puberty blockers and is undergoing hormone replacement therapy, is concerned the medical boards made their decision without recognizing the measures already in place for minors dealing with gender dysphoria like her daughter.
“She had to socially transition for at least a full year before she was allowed to start medication at all, she had to be 16 years old before she was allowed to start HRT, she had to be examined by multiple disciplinary doctors, a team, to qualify for this treatment at all,” said Davis.
For Davis, continuing her daughter’s gender-affirming treatment is a priority, especially since it has improved her mental health.
“When she started transitioning, it was like night and day,” she said. “She’s happy, she smiles, she has friends, she’s outgoing, she’s in clubs, she’s active and social. I don’t have to worry about her hurting herself anymore at all. It was like a miracle.”
Davis said she will find alternatives to help her daughter if care becomes unavailable, even if that involves moving out of the state or finding medical providers online.
“All I know is I am not going to allow my child to be hurt by these ignorant people,” Davis said.
Nikole Parker, director of transgender equality at Equality Florida fears transgender youth might access the care they need through dangerous practices in the absence of the vital resources they need to live with gender dysphoria.
“I left my house, I fell into survival sex work, I was taking black market hormones because I didn’t know how to access healthcare and that’s the part that scares me so much,” said Parker, a transgender woman who transitioned at 19. “ … The thought of people having to go to black market hormones just to get what they need again scares me.”
Other Floridians are worried about the implications of the new law as well. That’s why some members of the transgender community and parents of trans kids are looking to move out of the state, according to Kat Duesterhaus, communications director of Floriday Now.
“Right now we’ve got a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress and we’re going to be losing people in our state that are contributing to our beautiful sunshine state, making it a more diverse and loving place,” said Duesterhaus.