Florida moves to ban gender surgery, puberty blockers for children

(AP Photo/Carla K. Johnson)

First England and all of Great Britain showed a resurgence of common sense when it comes to the issue of “gender-affirming care” for minors. The British National Health Service is banning most transgender surgeries for minors as well as the administration of puberty-blocking drugs except in “strict clinical trials.” (There are no such recognized trials going on at this time according to the FDA.) They are even advising doctors to discourage children from changing their names or pronouns because gender confusion or dysphoria is almost always “a phase” some children go through and outgrow as they reach adulthood.

Now the trend may be moving across the pond to the United States, specifically in Florida. As reported in National Review, the Florida Board of Medicine, along with the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine, have initially approved a plan that would ban the prescription of puberty blockers for minors. Cross-sex surgeries would similarly be banned for minors. Will this rising tide of common sense and a drive to protect children from irreversible damage and a lifetime of serving as a cash cow for hospital “gender clinics” spread further?

The Florida Board of Medicine and state Board of Osteopathic Medicine have approved a plan to ban puberty blockers and sex-reassignment surgery as treatments for transgender minors in the state.

The validity of gender reassignment surgery and puberty blockers as treatment for gender dysphoria remains deeply contested. While a Columbia University study argues, for example, that “gender affirming care” can improve “the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse, transgender, nonbinary children, and adolescents,” many argue the opposite. According to  journalist Abigail Shrier, nearly three quarters of kids “typically outgrow” gender dysphoria symptoms.

Florida’s decision comes in the wake of the United Kingdom closing its sole gender dysphoria clinic, the Tavistock Centre. following an internal investigation found that the clinic pursued an “unquestioning affirmative approach” and pressured staff embrace a blind acceptance of such treatments.

There is one thing to note about the administration of GnRH Agonists to children. You can’t ban all use of puberty blockers because of the thankfully rare number of children diagnosed with precocious puberty. But even then, the drugs are only approved for use under close scrutiny by medical professionals and frequent testing because of the potentially serious side effects these drugs can cause. However, I’m confident that the Florida medical boards are taking such exceptions into account.

I will include here my periodic reminder that I am not a doctor and have no formal medical training. But some of the aspects of this debate should be obvious even to the layman who has been paying attention to the media coverage this topic has received. Irreversible mastectomies and genital mutilation surgeries are being performed on children who are not old enough to provide legal consent to get a tattoo. There is no opportunity to change their minds and go back if they later realize that they have made a terrible mistake.

Actual, diagnosed cases of true gender dysphoria used to be exceedingly rare and they were treated as a mental disorder. Now the National Health Service in England is reporting that referrals for “gender identity services” skyrocketed in schools by a factor of twenty in the past ten years. Gender dysphoria is not caused by a virus or bacteria. It doesn’t spread naturally among any population group. What’s being witnessed is the “socialization” of gender confusion and a parade of children jumping on the bandwagon to avoid being stigmatized for being “cisgender, straight” boys or girls.

I’ve long since grown tired of repeating this, but my libertarian leanings force me to concede that any adult American with the capacity to provide informed consent should be able to do what they wish with their bodies. As long as you’re willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of your decisions, you can chop off anything you like or try to convert yourself into a reptile. Have a blast.

But we’re talking about children. The nation has an obligation to protect them from bad decisions or the corrosive influences of their peers, teachers, or social activist movements. The FDA and the CDC have no authority to forbid the performance of specific surgeries or ban the prescribing of particular drugs once they have been approved by the FDA. (Even if they were only approved for wildly different uses.) But the states can step in and impose such restrictions. Hopefully, other states will be quick to follow Florida’s good example.

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