Skip to content

Judge calls DeSantis ban on transgender care unconstitutional

A federal judge blocked most of a law championed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that strictly limited transgender health care for adults and banned it completely for children.

In his decision Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle rejected a common mantra of the DeSantis administration, saying that “gender identity is real,” and that the state cannot deny transgender individuals treatment.

“Florida has adopted a statute and rules that ban gender-affirming care for minors even when medically appropriate,” Hinkle wrote. “The ban is unconstitutional.”

The decision on a lawsuit filed by parents of transgender children and also adults was hailed by many in the LGBTQ community as a significant victory. A growing number of states have been outlawing gender-transition care for minors. But Florida’s law was the first to limit care for adults.

Under the legislation, nurse practitioners were forbidden to prescribe hormones to transgender adults. Though doctors could provide care to transgender adults, a shortage of physicians meant most were not able to find someone to treat them. Some left the state, but many went without care.

Joey Knoll, who opened Spektrum Health in Orlando in 2018 to offer health care to transgender individuals, said Hinkle’s ruling means he and his staff will be able to immediately begin clearing a backlog of more than 300 patients waiting for hormone prescriptions.

“Judge Hinkle captured it quite clearly, saying this is a situation of animus and discrimination,” Knoll said. “He looked at the facts and recognized that.”

DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern said the state will appeal the decision.

“Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida will continue to fight to ensure children are not chemically or physically mutilated in the name of radical, new age ‘gender ideology,’” Redfern wrote in an email.

One of the Floridians who sued, Lucien Hamel, said the decision was a relief.

“The state has no place interfering in people’s private medical decisions, and I’m relieved that I can once again get the healthcare that I need here in Florida,” Hamel said in a statement released by the lawyers who represented him and others in the case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *