07 Jun 2023, 09:11

US court weakens Florida ban on trans care for minors

MIAMI, June 7, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - A Florida judge on Tuesday suspended part of a recently passed law that bans doctors from administering gender-affirming treatment to transgender children.

Judge Robert Hinkle of Federal District Court in Tallahassee ruled that three transgender minors in the southern US state can receive puberty blockers. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit against state officials filed by their parents.

"Gender identity is real," Hinkle wrote in his opinion.

He added: "Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate."

So-called puberty blockers have been used in young teens contemplating gender transition to delay the onset of unwanted physical changes.

Advocates say these are effective treatments for people suffering from gender dysphoria -- the clinical condition of distress because a person's gender identity is not the same as their biological sex.

Tuesday's ruling does not affect other aspects of the law endorsed by Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis last month, such as a ban on gender reassignment surgery for minors and a ban on public funding for treatment of gender dysphoria.

Transgender rights have increasingly become a hot-button issue in US politics, with a dozen Republican-controlled states passing similar restrictions.

Democrats decry such moves as encroaching on fundamental rights.

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