Federal judge blocks Florida's ban on gender-affirming care for 3 trans youths

Key Points
  • Judge Robert Hinkle in Florida granted a preliminary injunction, permitting a trio of transgender children to receive puberty blockers, or GnRH agonists.
  • In May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a slate of anti-trans legislation, including a bill that bans gender-affirming care for minors.
  • “The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset," Hinkle wrote. "Gender identity is real. The record makes it clear.”
Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives pose for a photograph holding LGBTQ+ and Transgender Pride flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol ahead of a vote on the Equality Act, Feb. 25, 2021.
Tom Brenner | Reuters

A federal judge in Florida issued a preliminary injunction that will permit three transgender children to receive puberty blockers, even as the state has banned gender-affirming care for minors.

Judge Robert Hinkle on Tuesday said the three youths, who are children of the plaintiffs in the case, may receive GnRH agonists, known as puberty blockers. This suit challenges legislation in Florida that bans gender-affirming care for minors, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in May.

Doctors for one of the children say she needs this medical treatment right away, while the doctors for the other two say they'll need these GnRH agonists "soon," according to the injunction.

"The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset," Hinkle wrote in his decision. "Gender identity is real. The record makes it clear."

"The plaintiffs' adolescent children will suffer irreparable harm — the unwanted and irreversible onset of and progression of puberty in their natal sex — if they do not promptly begin treatment with GnRH agonists. The treatment will affect the patients themselves, nobody else, and will cause the defendants no harm."

The defendants in this case include Florida's surgeon general, board of medicine, board of osteopathic medicine, attorney general and each of Florida's 20 state attorneys.

DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision takes place amid a politically fraught environment for LGBTQ+ people. More than 525 bills targeting these individuals were introduced in 41 states during the 2023 state legislative session, according to the Human Rights Campaign. More than 220 of these measures were focused on transgender people.

The organization estimates that more than 30% of transgendered youth ages 13 to 17 reside in states where they can't access care. Thus far, 20 states have passed laws or policy that ban gender-affirming care for individuals up to age 18, the HRC found.