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A court okayed gender affirming care in Florida. Here’s what’s next

A person holds a cardboard sign with the words Gender Affirming Care Saves Lives
Anna Jones
WFSU Public Media
A federal judge has struck down a law that banned gender affirming care for kids and put more rules in place for adults, but the state says it plans to appeal the ruling.

A federal judge has struck down a Florida law that banned doctors from providing gender affirming care to most kids. It also created hurdles for adults to access care. Now, advocates say they hope more transgender patients will be able to get what they see as life-saving care.

Simone Chriss is a lawyer on the case. She’s also the Director of the Transgender Rights Initiative at Southern Legal Counsel. She says some of the providers who offered that care have had to close their doors in the past year.

“Unfortunately after SB 254 came out, we saw a ton of providers across the state shut down their clinics—stop providing any care to minors particularly," Chriss says. "I know a lot of APRNs and NPs have had to shift their practice and treat other diagnosis and other patients because they were not allowed to treat trans patients.”

The law blocked doctors from providing care to most transgender kids and blocked any provider except doctors from prescribing things like hormone therapy to transgender adults—meaning nurse practitioners and physicians assistants couldn’t offer that care. Chriss says the ruling reverses that, but she thinks it will take awhile for care to catch up.

“My hope is that as the news spreads about this is that all of the providers who just shut down or stopped treating trans patients because they were not allowed by law to treat them will resume that care so that everyone can resume seeing their trusted provider who prescribed them gender affirming care prior to this," Chriss says.

Governor Ron DeSantis has spoken out against the ruling. During a press conference he told members of the media the state plans to appeal it.

“We’ll win that appeal," DeSantis said."We may win it very quickly given that the judges have already adjudicated this case going forward.”

The case will go before an appeals court in Alabama where the judges have previously overturned a stay on an Alabama law banning gender affirming care for minors. On the other hand, Chriss says the court has also handed down a ruling that supported access to gender affirming care. She says she believes her group has a strong argument.

“Even if they apply the standard that they applied in , the Alabama case, we still win because we proved in trial that these bans are based on animus and bias and a motive to deter transgender people from being transgender as opposed to any legitimate justification or motive that the state could put forward," Chriss says.

No date has been set yet for the appeals process to begin

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy covers healthcare and government in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.