Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis disseminated misleading information on multiple occasions regarding doctors mutilating children's genitalia, despite the fact that there are no recorded occurrences of this type of surgery. This was pointed out by a federal judge on Thursday, hearing a challenge to a transgender healthcare prohibition for minors and limits for adults.
Judge Robert Hinkle told state attorney Mohammad Jazil that the statute was marketed as protecting children from mutilation, but in reality, it is about preventing trans children from receiving treatment.
"When I'm analyzing the governor's motivation, what should I make of these statements?" Hinkle enquired. "This seems to be more than just hyperbole."
Regarding whether the Legislature, the Department of Health, and presidential candidate DeSantis purposefully targeted transgender people with the new law, Hinkle stated he will make a decision later in the new year. He expressed some doubt about the state's intentions when the attorneys concluded their arguments.
Hinkle said, "There is no rational basis for a state to categorically ban these treatments," as reported by Florida Today.
The Florida legislation that prohibits medical treatment for transgender youth, including hormone therapy and puberty blockers, is being challenged in the trial. DeSantis supported this law when running for president. Additionally, the law restricts adult trans care.
According to Jazil, the law was merely enacted to protect the public in a situation when greater control is necessary and could have long-term repercussions.
"It's about treating a medical condition; it's not about targeting transgender individuals," Jazil stated.
Jazil continued, saying that the state might have prohibited all adult and pediatric treatment if it had been targeting transgender individuals. Hinkle shot back, saying that Jazil would never be able to defend a law like that.
Appointed by former President Bill Clinton, Hinkle has, while the trial is ongoing, temporarily stopped the law's application to minors.
"The plaintiffs' adolescent children will suffer irreparable harm — the unwanted and irreversible onset and progression of puberty in their natal sex — if they do not promptly begin treatment with GnRH agonists," said Hinkle. One kind of puberty blocker is GnRH.
Restrictions on adult trans care that have been permitted to go into effect during the trial are also being contested in the case.
Currently, at least 22 states have passed legislation limiting or outlawing gender-affirming medical care for adolescents who identify as transgender, and numerous of those states are being sued. Diverse decisions have been made by courts. For example, a federal judge in Arkansas overturned the country's first law, claiming that the prohibition on care violated the due process rights of transgender minors and their families.
Except for Florida, enforcement is prohibited in two states; in the remaining seven, enforcement is either already in place or soon will be.
Transgender persons have been the subject of discrimination by DeSantis and the Legislature, according to Thomas Redburn, an attorney for trans adults and the families of trans children. He enumerated other recent legislation that have an impact on the community, such as those that limit the use of pronouns in schools, teach gender identity in schools, place limitations on public restrooms, and forbid transgender girls from participating in girls' sports.
Hinkle has previously chastised DeSantis for other bills that specifically targeted healthcare for transgender people.
A federal judge overturned a regulation in June that prohibited government healthcare programs from funding gender-affirming medical procedures including hormone therapy.
Those who support the prohibition "should put up or shut up: do you acknowledge that there are individuals with actual gender identities opposite their natal sex, or do you not?" Hinkle wrote from his perspective. "Dog whistles ought not be tolerated."