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Florida’s Ban On Gender-Affirming Care Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

Florida’s restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors and adults are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The decisionoverturns the law banning gender-affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed last year.

It also relieves transgender adults of the requirement that patients see a physician in person for any transition-related care, a rule that was particularly burdensome given that most people received care from nurse practitioners and use telehealth appointments.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee sided with the 11 plaintiffs, including four transgender adults and seven parents of transgender children.

“The State of Florida can regulate as needed but cannot flatly deny transgender individuals safe and effective medical treatment ― treatment with medications routinely provided to others with the state’s full approval so long as the purpose is not to support the patient’s transgender identity,” Hinkle wrote.

The 105-page order in Doe v. Lapado is the first time a federal court has weighed in on the constitutionality of restrictions on gender-affirming care for adults. Last year a federal judge struck downArkansas’ ban for minors as unconstitutional.

“Gender identity is real. Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria,” wrote Hinkle, a 72-year-old who was nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton. “Florida has adopted a statute and rules that ban gender-affirming care for minors even when medically appropriate. The ban is unconstitutional.”

The plaintiffs’ challenge, however, did not include the state’s restrictions on gender-affirming surgery, and the state still

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