Florida Legislature Passes Gender Affirming Care Ban

Florida Legislature Passes Gender Affirming Care Ban

TALLAHASSEE, FL – After becoming mired in disagreement over key provisions, the legislature moved forward with Senate Bill 254, the Gender Affirming Care Ban, today. The bill overrules a parent’s right to seek lifesaving care for their transgender child, criminalizes health care providers who provide that care consistent with the guidance of major medical organizations across the country, and restricts access to that care for adults, even those who have been receiving that care successfully for decades.

“This bill painfully shows Governor DeSantis’ ‘Florida freedom’ farce,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida Public Policy Director. “It’s an assault on medical freedom and the freedom to parent. After weaponizing the state’s Medicaid agency and Board of Medicine against the transgender community, the Governor’s surrogates have now rammed through legislation to override parental decision making, jail Florida doctors following best practices, and force adults to jump through government hoops to access their daily medication. This crusade is about political aspirations, but it has real world consequences for Florida families.”

The Gender Affirming Care Ban outlaws providing healthcare to transgender minors, including puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and rare surgical interventions, stripping parents’ ability to seek medically-necessary health care for their children. While much of the bill proponents’ rhetoric focused on transgender youth, multiple bill provisions impact consenting transgender adults. The bill bans government entities from offering them gender affirming healthcare insurance, restricts their ability to access TeleHealth for care in the way nearly all other healthcare can be delivered, and denies their ability to receive care from highly trained nurses that provide a large portion of the gender affirming care in the state. It also allows courts–not other state agencies–to exercise jurisdiction in limited cases to modify an existing custody agreement when a parent may seek access to care for their minor child in another state.

Advocates successfully narrowed the bill from the much more extreme House companion filed by Representative Randy Fine. Provisions previously approved by the House majority would have banned private health insurance providers from covering care for transgender adults and barred transgender Floridians from updating the gender on their birth certificates. The bill as passed also allows certain transgender youth already receiving gender-affirming treatments to continue doing so, whereas the House provisions would have terminated all care by the end of the year. Senate leaders expressed concerns about the extreme government overreach in the House proposal.

SB 254’s passage comes amidst an unprecedented barrage of anti-LGBTQ, anti-freedom bills in the final week of the 2023 legislative session. On Tuesday, the Legislature passed SB 1580, known as the License to Discriminate in Healthcare bill, which creates a broad license for health care providers and insurance companies to refuse services based on a “religious, moral, or ethical belief.” Despite fears from LGBTQ advocates that this could open the door for discrimination in health care services, the bill passed on a party line vote.

On Wednesday, three bills on the Slate of Hate were sent to the Governor. HB 1069, the Don’t Say LGBTQ Expansion Billl passed which extends last year’s censorship of classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity now up to eighth grade and overrides a parent’s right to ensure that school personnel address their transgender child with the correct title and pronouns. The bill also dramatically accelerates book banning efforts in Florida, allowing any person in a county to automatically remove a book from school shelves pending a lengthy review on the grounds of certain objections. The legislature then passed HB 1521, the Anti-Transgender Bathroom Ban, that imposes new restrictions mandating that bathroom use be separated by sex assigned at birth in schools, universities, public stadiums, regional convention centers, airports, and all government buildings. And finally, HB 999 which included language banning public funding for LGBTQ inclusive diversity and inclusion programs in our state colleges and universities.

Should Governor DeSantis sign it, the Gender Affirming Care Ban will take effect immediately.



October 2010

May 2010

October 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009