Florida Republican pledges to provide gender-transitional medical care for underage victims of child abuse

Florida’s 2023 session is currently 11 months away. Fine’s term — along with Florida’s 160 legislative seats — is up for election in November.

“I can say I’m a porcupine, but that doesn’t mean I am,” Fine wrote in a tweet monday. “It’s time to get over this fantasy of making women’s sport a joke and our schools a cesspool.”

Some conservatives have pushed for restrictions on transgender athletes, saying new laws are needed to protect women’s sport. Still, transgender women have been allowed to compete in women’s categories at the Olympics since 2003 and the NCAA since 2010.

Medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, support gender-affirming care for adolescents. Medical guidelines, however, do not recommend gender-affirming surgeries for children under 18.

Fine’s comments mark the latest attempt by Florida Republicans to target sexual orientation and gender identity among students in the state.

State GOP leaders in 2021 passed legislation banning transgender athletes from playing women’s sports and recently signed into law a bill to push back against what GOP Governor Ron DeSantis calls “transgenderism” in the schools through a proposal that prohibits teachers from directing classroom instruction on sexual orientation. and gender identity for kindergarten through third graders.

Florida Democrats argued Fine’s proposal was a “dangerous” way to build on parental rights legislation DeSantis signed last week, FLHB1557 (22R), law dubbed “don’t say gay” by opponents.

“FL Republicans are showing us once again that the whole premise of HB1557 was and is to attack the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth, who they believe shouldn’t even be able to access medical care with the parental consent,” says Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) wrote on Twitter.

The idea of ​​making gender-affirming treatments for minors illegal has been proposed in several states, including Florida before, while other authorities are taking other steps. In Texas, for example, Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott sent a letter to state health agencies saying that caring for gender-affirming children should be considered child abuse.. Others in Texas are investigating the makers of puberty-blocking drugs.

More than a dozen states have introduces measures to penalize healthcare providers who provide gender-affirming care to children and adolescents because Republican leaders say it counts as “child abuse.” Yet medical and child protection groups, as well as LGBTQ rights advocates, have opposed the measures, saying they further marginalize young people who face higher risks of suicide and health problems. mental.

Arkansas is fighting in federal court to preserve its ban on such treatment, which Republicans said was necessary to protect minors — a stance Fine also took on Monday. In each state, minors seeking such care must obtain parental consent.

“No child should be put in a position to make life-changing decisions until they reach the age of majority,” Fine said. wrote on Twitter.