The Florida Health Department on Wednesday released guidance pushing back against the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “unscientific shift” in the treatment of gender dysphoria in adolescents and children.
In response to evidence recently cited on a fact sheet released by the HHS to provide guidance on gender dysphoria for minors, the Florida Health Department explained that systemic reviews on hormonal treatment for young people show a trend of “low-quality evidence, small sample sizes, and medium to high risk of bias.”
“The federal government's medical establishment releasing guidance failing at the most basic level of academic rigour shows that this was never about health care,” said State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo. “It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children. Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counselling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18.”
Countries including Sweden, Finland, France, and the U.K. are currently reviewing or otherwise stopping treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents as a result of research findings.
The Florida Department of Health published its guidance with the following remarks:
A paper published in the International Review of Psychiatry states that 80% of those seeking clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the non-birth sex. One review concludes that 'hormonal treatments for transgender adolescents can achieve their intended physical effects, but evidence regarding their psychosocial and cognitive impact is generally lacking.'
According to the Merck Manual, “gender dysphoria is characterized by a strong, persistent cross-gender identification associated with anxiety, depression, irritability, and often a wish to live as a gender different from the one associated with the sex assigned at birth.”
Due to the lack of conclusive evidence, and the potential for long-term, irreversible effects, the Department's guidelines are as follows:
• Social gender transition should not be a treatment option for children or adolescents.
• Anyone under 18 should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.
• Gender reassignment surgery should not be a treatment option for children of adolescents.
o Based on the currently available evidence, "encouraging mastectomy, ovariectomy, uterine extirpation, penile disablement, tracheal shave, the prescription of hormones which are out of line with the genetic make-up of the child, or puberty blockers, are all clinical practices which run an unacceptably high risk of doing harm."
• Children and adolescents should be provided social support by peers and family and seek counselling from a licensed provider.
“The current evidence does not support the use of puberty blockers, hormone treatments, or surgical procedures for children and adolescents,” stated the Florida Health Department, noting that 80% of those who seek clinical care will lose their desire to identify with the non-birth sex, and that the importance of puberty in the development of the brain cannot be overstated.
Furthermore, the application of puberty blockers and hormone treatment has potentially irreversible consequences on health, including infertility, cardiovascular disease, and increased cancer risk.