US judge blocks Florida ban on trans minor care in narrow ruling, says ‘gender identity is real’ - Associated Press

A federal judge temporarily blocked portions of a new Florida law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans transgender minors from receiving puberty blockers, saying in a Tuesday ruling that gender identity is real and the state has no rational basis for denying patients treatment.

Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction, saying three transgender children can continue receiving treatment. The lawsuit challenges the law DeSantis signed shortly before he announced a run for president.

“Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear,” Hinkle said, adding that even a witness for the state agreed.

Transgender medical care for minors is increasingly under attack — Florida is among 19 states that have enacted laws restricting or banning treatment. But it has been available in the United States for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations.

Hinkle’s ruling was narrowly focused on the three children whose parents brought the suit. Simone Chriss, a lawyer for Southern Legal Counsel representing the parents, said she hopes health care providers and prosecutors see the ruling as applying statewide, like when Hinkle issued an injunction in 2014 declaring the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional as it applied to a single couple.

“The state no longer has any valid interest in enforcing something that’s unconstitutional,” Chriss said.

As she spoke, DeSantis’s office issued a statement saying the opposite, and the law will be enforced for all except the three children.

Attention on the new law has focused on language involving minors, and Hinkle’s ruling focuses on the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. The ruling doesn’t address other language that makes it difficult to near impossible for adults to receive or continue gender-affirming care.

Hinkle, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton, said people who mistakenly believe gender identity is a choice also “tend to disapprove all things transgender and so oppose medical care that supports a person’s transgender existence.”

Banning treatment for minors ignores risks patients might face, Hinkle said.

The three children in the lawsuit will “suffer irreparable harm” if they cannot begin puberty blockers, Hinkle said.

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Associated Press

Locations: Florida 

Organizations: Southern Legal Counsel 

People: Ron DeSantis Robert Hinkle Simone Chriss Bill Clinton 

Tags: LGBTQ+ Transgender Puberty Blockers 

Type: Headlines