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How Florida Twisted Science to Deny Healthcare to Trans Kids


A girl holds the Transgender Pride flag during the pride march held in one of the most important streets of Madrid. (Photo by Luis Soto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) When Dr. Ken Pang published one of the first large-scale analyses of gender-affirming care on transgender children, in 2018, the paper was celebrated as a vital contribution and even made its way to the home page of the r/Science subreddit.

Though the evidence was limited, the review suggested that hormone blockers and hormone replacement therapy could help alleviate gender dysphoria and make transgender youth feel more at home in their own bodies.

Four years later, Pang was shocked to learn that his research was being used by Florida’s Department of Health to justify denying gender-affirming care to all minors in the state. The department cited Pang’s work in a memo issued in April, after the passage of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. The memo even recommends against social transition, which can include changes as simple as using new pronouns or wearing different clothing.

“It’s one of those moments where your heart sinks,” Pang, a clinician and scientist at the Murdoch Research Institute in Australia, told VICE News. “One of the first principles […]

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