Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Florida’s Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

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By Giselle Balido

June 6, 2023

Arguing that “gender identity is real,” US District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that the state doesn’t have a legitimate case for dissuading a person from conforming to their gender identity instead of their birth sex.

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the enforcement of Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, arguing it’s likely unconstitutional and represents “purposeful discrimination against transgender” people.

US District Court Judge Robert Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction against Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, the Florida Board of Medicine, and other state leaders as part of a lawsuit filed by four Florida families with trans children.

The injunction will block a rule from the Board that banned gender-affirming care—such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy—for trans youth and allow parents to continue seeking such care for their children while the lawsuit plays out.

The plaintiffs in Doe v. LaDapo argued that the state could not demonstrate any rational basis for the transgender medical bans which seek to prevent transgender adolescents from getting safe, medically necessary healthcare. 

RELATED: Florida Could Strip Parental Rights from Parents Who Seek Gender-Affirming Care for Their Transgender Child

The judge agreed with the plaintiffs, saying that the state doesn’t have a legitimate interest in dissuading a person from conforming to their gender identity instead of their birth sex. 

Hinkle also stated that the families are likely to succeed on their claim that the ban illegally interferes with their parental right to decide their children’s medical treatment, noting that the parents are better positioned to evaluate the benefits and risks of gender-affirming care for their kids than the state.

“I find that the plaintiffs’ motivation is love for their children and the desire to achieve the best possible treatment for them,” Hinkle wrote. “This is not the State’s motivation.”

Gender Identity Is Real

Hinkle also stressed that Florida’s adoption of provisions prohibiting widely accepted medically necessary treatments is likely unconstitutional, and condemned what he called the “unspoken suggestion” from the defendants that transgender identity is not real.

“Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear. The medical defendants, speaking through their attorneys, have admitted it,” Hinkle wrote, adding that “any proponent of the challenged statute and rules 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?”

RELATED: A New Florida GOP Bill Could Make It Legal for Parents to Kidnap Their Trans Kids

In his ruling, Hinkle cited the fact that the “great weight of medical authority supports these treatments,” including major health organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. But what is more important, Hinkle said, is that the minors will suffer irreparable harm if denied treatment.

“There are risks attendant to not using these treatments, including the risk — in some instances, the near certainty — of anxiety and depression and even suicidal ideation,” Hinkle said, adding that the challenged statute ignores the benefits that many patients realize from these treatments.

A Huge Sigh of Relief

Jane Doe, one of the plaintiffs who joined the lawsuit on behalf of her transgender daughter, said that she “breathed a huge sigh of relief” after the judge’s ruling.

“I’m sure most any parent can imagine the sense of powerlessness that comes from being unable to do something as basic as get medical care for your child,” she said. 

Sidney Austin LLP, Southern Legal Counsel, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders represent the four Florida families.

The Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign are representing the families and celebrated Tuesday’s ruling.

“Today’s ruling is a powerful affirmation of the humanity of transgender people, the efficacy of well-established, science-based medical care, and of the rights of parents to make informed healthcare decisions for their children,” the groups said in a statement.



  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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