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Federal Judge issues injunction on Fine’s transgender bill, and Florida Board of Medicine Rules “very likely unconstitutional.”

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On Tuesday, a federal court granted a preliminary injunction that permits three transgender youths to obtain puberty blockers, despite the rules set by the Florida Boards of Medicine and the enactment of a new law, SB 254, which prohibits gender-affirming care for individuals under 18 who identify as transgender.

“Gender identity is real,” writes U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in his ruling. “… I find that the plaintiffs’ motivation is love for their children and the desire to achieve the best possible treatment for them. This is not the State’s motivation.”

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As part of an ongoing lawsuit initiated by seven parents in Florida who have transgender children, a recent ruling was made stating that the state’s ban on treatment involving puberty blockers, testosterone, and estrogen violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Three out of the seven parents involved in the case successfully obtained a preliminary injunction. Judge Hinkle, in his ruling, expressed the belief that these parents are likely to prevail in their argument that both SB 254 and the rules established by the Boards of Medicine, which prohibit the aforementioned treatments for transgender youth, are unconstitutional.

“The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their claim that the prohibition is unconstitutional,” wrote Hinkle.

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“It’s important not to miss what the Court also said which is that the law and rules are likely to fail constitutional scrutiny once the Court has the chance to rule on the merits. That is a hugely important part of the ruling which sends a strong signal to medical providers and families about the likely demise of this ban,” wrote Jennifer L. Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at LGBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders to the Orlando Sentinel.

These treatments have decades of robust clinical evidence indicating their safety, and have been used for other medical conditions such as treating children who begin puberty prematurely, Hinkle writes.

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Denying transgender individuals access to this treatment but allowing access for children who need it for other reasons is “differential treatment based on sex and transgender status,” Hinkle writes.

These three adolescents, whose identity along with their parents’ has been kept anonymous, have begun or are about to begin puberty. Each has lived as a gender different than their biological sex for years and risks being outed to peers as transgender if they begin puberty. Their doctors all deem puberty blockers medically necessary, and to not give them risks irreversible harm, the ruling states.

“Any proponent of the challenged statute and rules should put up or shut up: do you acknowledge that there are individuals with actual gender identities opposite their natal sex, or do you not? Dog whistles ought not be tolerated,” he writes.

The injunction mentioned earlier specifically pertains to certain aspects of Florida’s law, and it is important to note that there are additional provisions within the law that are not addressed by this particular injunction. The Southern Legal Counsel, LGBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign, who are acting as legal representatives for the plaintiffs involved in this case, issued a joint news release. According to the release, the challenge against the health care bans imposed by the Boards of Medicine and SB 254 is expected to proceed swiftly to trial.

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