In a major victory for families fighting against Florida’s ban on gender care for minors, a federal judge has blocked the law. The ban, which was set to go into effect on July 1st, would have prevented doctors from providing gender-affirming care to anyone under the age of 18.
The ruling comes after several legal challenges were brought forth by families and medical professionals who argued that the ban was unconstitutional and would harm transgender youth in the state. Judge Mendoza, who presided over one of the cases, wrote in his ruling that “gender identity is real”, and that denying care to minors is not in line with the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
As a result of the ruling, transgender minors in Florida will be able to access gender-affirming treatments, including hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, with the support of their doctors and families.
However, the ruling does not apply to adults seeking gender-affirming care in the state. This has left many transgender adults blindsided, as a new law that went into effect on July 1st limits their access to health care. The law bans insurance coverage for gender-affirming treatments and procedures for all transgender residents in the state, regardless of age.
Advocates for transgender rights are celebrating the ruling as a step in the right direction, but acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to ensure that all transgender individuals have access to the care they need. “We will continue to fight for full equality and dignity for all LGBTQ Floridians”, said Nadine Smith, the CEO of Equality Florida, in a statement following the ruling.
The state of Florida has not yet announced whether it will appeal the ruling.