Florida Board of Medicine votes to ban sex changes for minors after testimony from detransitioners

Oct 29, 2022 | Political News

The Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee Rule Workshop held a hearing on Friday to determine a course of action for child sex changes in the state. state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued guidance that child sex changes, undertaken with drugs and sometimes with surgeries, should not be permitted in Florida. 

As a result of the testimony given by parents of children who are being put through gender transition, parents who have lost children as a result of gender transition, as well as from adults who have gone through transition and come out the other side, the Board voted to disallow the use of puberty blockers, surgeries, and cross-sex hormones for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors. The committee's recommendation to prohibit medicalized gender transitions for minors will go to a vote before the full board next week.

The hearing heard testimony from parents who have pushed their children into medical gender transition after believing their children have “come out” to them at very young ages. If this rule goes into effect, they would not be able to continue using drugs to gender transition their children unless those children were part of a clinical trial, which was the caveat given by the Board in their recommendation.

Male and female adults who have detransitioned spoke on their experiences with both transitioning to the opposite gender, as well as transitioning back to their birth gender, and there were many. Adult males spoke about their experiences with drugs and surgeries, with one individual who presents as a female describing the lack of function the neo-vagina between his legs has. There is not enough depth for penetrative sex, the individual told the Board.

Many of those who testified against these procedures for minors stressed that adults are able to make these mistakes, and if adults can be so wrong about the taking of drugs and surgeries to present as the opposite sex, what hope do minors have of being able to truly to consent to a lifetime of sterility and sexual function simply to be able to appear as the opposite sex. 

Speaking first was Zoe Hawes, a 23-year-old expecting mother who had transitioned as a teenager. She choked up as she spoke, saying that she “experienced a lot of trauma” in her childhood, noting that she was molested at the age of six, experienced her parents’ divorce at the age of eight, and her mother attempted suicide when she was 13.

She was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in middle school, and “I couldn’t accept my body in puberty,” she said. “I just wanted to escape.”

Hawes said that by the age of 16 she was “unstable and suicidal,” and that she began believing that she was a boy after reading a memoir about a transgender person.

She came out to her mother, who feared that “I might kill myself if she didn’t affirm me,” Hawes said.

Her mother took her to see a gender therapist, who diagnosed Hawes with gender dysphoria and after just three months of therapy, recommended testosterone.

“I started T seven months after coming out at the age of 16,” Hawes said. “I really thought transitioning was going to fix everything.”

While Hawes body began exhibiting more masculine features, her mental health declined, becoming “more suicidal, more unstable, and the anxiety became debilitating.”

While in and out of mental hospitals six times, doctors never questioned whether testosterone could be causing these symptoms, Hawes said.

“After a serious suicide attempt in February of 2018, I realized that just changing my appearance was not going to take away the pain,” she said, noting that after this realization “I started working really hard in therapy.”

“A year later in 2019, I had a life-changing encounter with Jesus and began to find deep healing and peace within myself.”

After four years of taking testosterone, Hawes began to detransition, and her mental health “improved exponentially.”

“I’m no longer in therapy, nor even on mental health medication. I have not been suicidal or hospitalized since stopping testosterone.”

Hawes said that she is “truly grateful” that she never went through with surgeries, something that she couldn’t afford at the time, “because now I’m happily married and 28 weeks pregnant, but if I had gotten surgeries that I so desperately wanted as a teenager that would have stolen this future from me.”

Hawes requested that the board ban hormone treatments for kids and teens under the age of 18, and ban surgeries under the age of 21.

Echoing a similar experience of transitioning as a minor was Chloe Cole, a notable name in the detransitioning community.

Cole said that she began transitioning shortly before her teenage years by cutting her hair, changing her clothes, and going by a new name.

At 13 she began taking puberty blockers and testosterone, and at the age of 15, she got a double mastectomy.

“And yet at 16, after years of medically transitioning, I came to realize I severely regretted my transition.”

Cole noted the role that social media and the internet had on her decision to transition, saying that “I unknowingly gave my mind and eventually my body to an anti-science movement that reduces women to long hair, barbie dolls, dresses, and false self-perception.”

As she continued with her transition, Cole said that she was becoming increasingly suicidal, and that some issues went undiagnosed for years until she had stopped transitioning, like autism and body dysmorphia.

“All the talk about mental health, self-perception, pronouns, and ideology leads me to the question, why is a mental health epidemic not being addressed with mental health treatment to get at the root causes for why female adolescents like me want to reject their bodies?” Cole asked.