Judge Strikes Down Florida Ban on Transgender Care for Minors

Key parts of a Florida law that bans gender transition care for minors and imposes hurdles on adults seeking transition care are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Federal District Court in Tallahassee sided with advocacy groups and three families who had said that the law stripped them of parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their transgender children.

In a 105-page order, Judge Hinkle said that “gender identity is real” and that a “widely accepted standard of care” includes puberty blockers and hormone treatments that Florida unlawfully banned.

“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,” Judge Hinkle wrote.

The law, passed by Republican lawmakers and enacted by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May 2023, barred doctors and nurses from prescribing or administering transition-related medication to those under 18 and exposed medical providers to criminal liability and professional discipline if they did so, among other provisions. On Tuesday, Judge Hinkle declared those and other provisions unconstitutional.

Last June, Judge Hinkle temporarily blocked enforcement of those parts of the law for the children of the three families who filed the lawsuit, pending the outcome of a trial that was held in December.

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