Remarks that suggest legal changes ahead?
At a press conference on August 3 announcing Florida's new initiative to support fentanyl addicts and their families, Governor Ron DeSantis also chose to discuss the topic of "gender-affirming care" (in air quotes), provided to transgender kids by Floridian doctors.
The treatments he referred to doctors having carried out included double-mastectomies for girls wanting to transition to become males, and castration of boys transitioning to become females. The governor's solution to counter the prevalence of such treatments in future?
Potentially to sue the doctors providing the care.
It was a suggestion that was greeted at the press conference with whoops and cheers.
Governor DeSantis chose to address the objections that prompted him to make the remarks. He questioned the wisdom of conducting radical and irreversible surgeries upon kids at an age when they're not necessarily emotionally-equipped to make informed decisions.
"We've stood up and said, both from the health and children wellbeing perspective, you know, you don't disfigure 10,12, 13 year old kids, based on gender dysphoria."
DeSantis went on to refer to a statistic often cited as a reason for discouraging gender-affirming care for kids:
"Eighty percent of it resolves, anyways, by the time they get older."
The figure suggests that 80% of kids who transition, ultimately change their minds.
It is often quoted as grounds for preventing kids transitioning between genders, and originates from a number of studies carried out between 2008 and 2013 that looked at kids attending gender identity clinics in Canada and the Netherlands. There have been concerns expressed over how the data was captured and analyzed in these studies, which question its validity.
Whether it is accurate or representative is uncertain, but the governor does seem to have a point about the ability of kids to make such serious and irreversible decisions. Whether it's appropriate to punish doctors who provide the care, through legal means may be a matter of opinion.
Consistent with the 'Don't Say Gay' bill
The governor's comments suggest that under his leadership the state will attempt to limit potentially harmful side-effects associated with gender-identity and transition. The so-called 'Don't Say Gay' legislation that took effect as at July 1 this year prohibits discussions of sexual and gender identity in public school classrooms at grade K through 3.
Earlier this week he used his personal Twitter account to remind his followers of the topics that the state considers on the curriculum in the next school year:
Between the Parental Rights in Education bill (known as 'Don't Say Gay'), guidelines for healthcare providers in relation to providing gender affirming care and now the possibility of doctors being sued if they provide such care, it seems like this will remain a hot topic in Florida.
What do you think about the governor's comments and the possible threat to doctors of legal action if they provide gender-affirming care to kids? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.