Federal Judge to Florida: 'Gender Identity Is Real'

Judge blocks part of transgender care law
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2023 5:51 PM CDT
Judge Blocks Parts of Florida Transgender Law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaks during a campaign event, June 2, 2023, in Lexington, SC.   (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr., File)

"Gender identity is real," a federal judge said in a ruling Tuesday, siding with parents who sought to block parts of Florida's new transgender care law. US District Judge Robert Hinkle's ruling issued a preliminary injunction allowing three transgender children to receive puberty blockers despite the state's ban on gender-affirming care for youths, the New York Times reports. In his ruling, Hinkle said the record makes it clear that gender identity is real—and "proper treatment" can include mental health treatment followed by puberty blockers. Florida, he wrote, "has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate."

The statute, Hinkle said, "ignores the benefits that many patients realize from these treatments and the substantial risk posed by foregoing the treatments." "It is is fanciful to believe that all the many medical associations who have endorsed gender-affirming care ... have so readily sold their patients down the river. The great weight of medical authority supports these treatments,” the judge said, per WKMG. He said bigotry appeared to play a large role in the Florida law, noting that one state lawmaker referred to transgender people as "demons" and "mutants." The judge said he was issuing the injunction because he believes the plaintiffs will succeed in their claim that the law is unconstitutional.

Simone Chriss, a lawyer representing parents who challenged the law, said she hoped health care providers and prosecutors would view the ruling as applying statewide, the AP reports. The office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, said it would only apply to the three children. "We will continue fighting against the rogue elements in the medical establishment that push ideology over evidence," said press secretary Jeremy Redfern. Chriss said she hopes the state won't prosecute doctors who provide care "that is aligned with every major medical organization—not a rogue few, but all of them." (More Florida stories.)

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