Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is widely seen as a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said on a podcast this week he would support legislation banning transgender surgeries on children.
DeSantis made the comments on political commentator Lisa Boothe's podcast, The Truth with Lisa Boothe, after the host asked him to opine on the Biden administration's claim that performing body-altering surgeries on minors experiencing gender dysphoria is "crucial" and a "best practice." Just last week, President Joe Biden's Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine — who is a male but identifies as a transgender woman — claimed there "is no argument" among medical professionals about "the value and the importance of gender-affirming care."
Boothe referenced a mid-April guidance from the Florida Department of Health (DOH), which recommends against social and medical sex-based transition for anyone under 18 years old. Instead, the agency stated, "Children and adolescents should be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider."
The host then asked DeSantis if he would support lawmakers codifying that guidance into state law.
"I would ban the — yeah, I would ban the sex change, the operations," the governor replied. "I think that it's something that — you can't get a tattoo if you're 12 years old. When they say 'gender-affirming care,' what they mean, a lot of times is, you are really, you're castrating a young boy, you're sterilizing a young girl, you're doing mastectomies for these very young girls.
"And, here's the thing, what our guidance pointed to — and [Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo] did a great job — for these young kids, 80% of the cases resolve themselves as they grow up," DeSantis continued. "And so you're doing things that are permanently altering them, and then they're not gonna be able to reverse that, and so I don't think it's appropriate for kids at all. I think the guidance is right, but I think that there should be additional protections.
"[Because], you know, when you're growing up, there are things that, you know, it's an awkward time, and it seems like there's a concerted effort in society to push these kids in to do some type of medical intervention and, in our judgment, that's not healthy," DeSantis added.
In its guidance, the Florida DOH referenced an October 2015 study showing roughly 80% of children who meet the criteria for gender dysphoria as kids self-correct, and resume to identify with their biology, as they enter puberty.
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