ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida’s new law to ban gender transition procedures for minors has been in effect for nearly a week.
It also restricts access to gender transition treatments for transgender adults who may have been in care for decades.
The public policy director for Equality Florida tells Spectrum News, he’s seen how this law is already having an impact on care, particularly for transgender adults.
He said it's limiting access to puberty blockers, hormones and surgery.
“Part of the reason we're seeing now such a crisis care for transgender Floridians is that this law went into effect immediately on the day that it was signed last week,” said Jon Harris Maurer, public policy director for Equality Florida, a civil rights organization dedicated to securing LGBTQ equality. “So we have a lot of providers scrambling to figure out how they can comply with the new regulations, a lot of patients who are really struggling to understand what the new law means for them.”
Maurer says there is a grandfathering clause important for trans youth who are currently in care so that they can remain in care.
As Spectrum News digs deeper into the effect this law has on Floridians, we’re hearing from those in the medical field who are caught in the middle.
Transgender adults can only receive treatment from licensed doctors and doctors of osteopathy now.
A nurse practitioner for Spektrum Health in Orlando said this new law is limiting what she can do for her transgender patients.
Denise Morgan said she’s no longer able to prescribe gender transition meds to her transgender patients.
Nurse practitioners like her are prohibited from prescribing meds or hormones for patients seeking gender transition treatments.
“Right now they look at me, some of them with lots of fear and tears in their eyes,” said Morgan. “It’s heartbreaking for me, I feel like my hands are tied.”
She said few physicians are specialized or trained in the medical transitioning field.
“The gender affirming treatment and care in the state of Florida is predominantly rendered by nurse practitioners, up until now, I feel powerless at the moment but I’m hopeful that things will change.”
Toni Aviles started as a patient at Spektrum Health but now works there.
She’s been in Orlando for 27 years and said this new law is making their gender transition care journey, a challenge.
“Whatever hoops I have to jump through, it’s nothing compared to not being able to live as myself, as who I now am,” said Aviles.
Denise said some of her patients are planning to move out of state to seek transgender healthcare, but for Aviles, that’s not an option.
“The community needs unity, so that’s not going to happen if I run away,” said Aviles.
Transgender patients are still able to get other primary care treatments and prescriptions but again nurse practitioners are now restricted from providing any medications solely for gender transition purposes.
Note: Spektrum Health is not affiliated with Spectrum News.