Endocrine Society Opposes Florida Department of Health Policy on Gender Dysphoria Treatment for Children and Adolescents

Misinformation disregards science and restricts access to evidence-based care.

The Endocrine Society objects to the Florida Department of Health’s bulletin on gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-diverse youth. The bulletin contradicts the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ resources and the Society’s own evidence-based Clinical Practice Guideline regarding gender-affirming care.

We call on the Florida Department of Health to rescind its bulletin and allow physicians to provide evidence-based care.

Transgender and gender-diverse youth need access to evidence-based care that is supported by major international medical groups—including the Endocrine Society, American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics—and Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Medical evidence, not politics, should inform treatment decisions. The Florida Department of Health’s bulletin cites only a handful of studies. This is in contrast to formal medical guidelines that comply with the Institute of Medicine’s standards. Our Clinical Practice Guideline adheres to these national standards and cites more than 260 scientific studies.

The Florida Department of Health’s policy reflects widespread misinformation about gender-affirming care. Gender-affirming care benefits the health and psychological functioning of transgender and gender-diverse youth. When an individual’s gender identity is not respected and the individual cannot access medical care, it can result in higher psychological problem scores and can raise the person’s risk of committing suicide or other acts of self-harm.

The Florida Department of Health’s message to eliminate access to puberty-delaying medication for transgender and gender-diverse teenagers contradicts accepted medical practice. Only reversible treatments to delay puberty are recommended for younger adolescents, according to our Clinical Practice Guideline and joint policy perspective issued with the Pediatric Endocrine Society. Puberty-delaying medication is a safe, reversible and conservative approach that gives teenagers and their families more time to explore their options. The same treatment has been used for decades to treat precocious puberty.

While the Florida Department of Health policy expresses concern about surgery being offered to teens younger than 18, the reality is that gender-affirming surgery is generally limited to adults who meet medical and psychological requirements.

There is broad consensus within the medical community about the importance of gender- affirming care. Other major international medical and scientific organizations such as WPATH, the European Society of Endocrinology, the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are in alignment with the Society on the importance of gender-affirming care.

Widespread misinformation about medical care recommended for transgender and gender-diverse adolescents is fueling efforts to limit access to needed care. Twenty states have proposed legislation to limit access to care this year, according to Freedom for All Americans.

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