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A Florida board extends public comment for a proposed ban on transgender treatments for youth

Trans advocates hold up signs at a recent joint meeting of the Florida Board of Medicine and Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media
Trans advocates hold up signs at a recent joint meeting of the Florida Board of Medicine and Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Members of the public have another few weeks to submit comments to the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine about a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. The board extended the comment period after correcting an error.

The board originally listed the wrong email address for executive director Danielle Terrell, the person to contact with comments. The address was listed with a ".com" ending instead of ".gov."

Lawyers with Southern Legal Counsel, which opposes the ban, say they pointed out the error and requested an extension. The board obliged, posting a correction on Dec. 7 and giving the public an additional 21 days to share feedback about the proposal, to Dec. 28.

“We are pleased that the Board of Osteopathic Medicine did the right thing and chose to comply with our request to reopen the public comment period for the proposed rule in light of the error identified in the original notice,” said attorney Simone Chriss, director of the Transgender Rights Initiative at Southern Legal Counsel. “It is critical that people in Florida, particularly those impacted by the discriminatory proposed rules, have their voices heard."

The proposal would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming treatments like hormone therapies and puberty blockers to minors. Kids already receiving treatment would be allowed to continue.

RELATED: What to know about gender-affirming care for trans youth as Florida weighs more restrictions

Opponents of the ban say it will deny transgender children potentially lifesaving treatment. They're urging anyone who submitted a comment to the incorrect email address to resubmit feedback to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

The Florida Board of Medicine was also accepting comments on a similar proposal but that period closed on Dec. 5.

Both boards voted in November to advance the proposals, which were drafted at the request of the Florida Department of Health.

State officials argue the treatments are "experimental" and have repeatedly made false or misleading statements about gender-affirming care. PolitiFact recently reported the state misrepresented research it used to defend its claims.

"Gender-affirming care is evidence-based, safe, and effective, and the state should not be interfering with physicians’ ability to provide medically necessary care based on their patients’ individual needs, nor the fundamental rights of parents to make medical decisions for their minor child," said Chriss.

How to submit a comment

Anyone interested in sharing feedback to the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine must contact Danielle Terrell, Executive Director, Board of Osteopathic Medicine/MQA by Dec. 28.

Email: Danielle.Terrell@flhealth.gov

Address: 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #C06, Tallahassee, Fla. 32399-3256

The LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida also created an online portal where people can submit comments, which will be directed to the board.

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Stephanie Colombini
Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters,WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.