At a press briefing on Wednesday, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that medical professionals who perform sex change surgeries on children should be sued.
“Doctors are performing double mastectomies on young girls and castrating boys despite the fact that most cases of gender dysphoria are resolved on their own when children grow up,” DeSantis said.
The DeSantis administration has discouraged child sex changes in official guidance, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging these medical interventions.
“[They] talk about these young kids getting ‘gender-affirming care.’ They don’t tell you what that is,” DeSantis said. “They’re actually giving very young girls double mastectomies; they want to castrate these young boys. That’s wrong.”
“You don’t disfigure 10, 12, or 13-year-old kids based on gender dysphoria. 80% of it resolves anyways by the time they get older,” DeSantis said. “I think these doctors need to get sued for what’s happening.”
The DeSantis admin has pushed back against recommendations from the Biden administration endorsing “gender-affirming care” for children, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries. The Florida Department of Health advises against social and medical transitions for children experiencing gender dysphoria.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who spoke on Wednesday, is leading the charge to push back against childhood sex changes in Florida.
In June, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo wrote a letter to the state Board of Medicine asking it to review the findings and establish new standards for children seeking “these complex and irreversible procedures.”
“Florida must do more to protect children from politics-based medicine,” Ladapo wrote.
“Otherwise, children and adolescents in our state will continue to face a substantial risk of long-term harm.”
According to Ladapo, research showed “80% of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the non-birth sex” and “the importance of puberty to brain development, with the pre-frontal cortex…continuing to develop until approximately 25 years of age.”
“While some professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society, recommend these treatments for ‘gender affirming’ care, the scientific evidence supporting these complex medical interventions is extraordinarily weak,” he wrote. “For instance, the overview conducted by Dr. Brignardello-Peterson and Dr. Wiercioch states that ‘there is great uncertainty about the effects of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries in young people with gender dysphoria.’”
Ladapo also stated in the letter that he believes supporters of gender dysphoria treatments for children “appear to follow a preferred political ideology instead of the highest level of generally accepted medical science.”
Many doctors and mental health specialists argue that medical treatment for transgender children is safe and beneficial and can improve their well-being, although rigorous long-term research on benefits and risks is lacking.
Federal guidelines say gender-affirming care is crucial to the health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary children.