After hearing testimony from the trans community, the Florida Board of Medicine voted Friday to create standards of gender-affirming care for trans youth, prompted by the Department of Health’s petition to not allow any treatment until adulthood and for adult patients to have a 24-hour waiting period.

All but one member of the 15-person board voted in favor of the department’s petition; the dissenting vote was vice chair Dr. Kevin Cairns, whose term is up in November.

“I don’t feel like this has been done in a way that’s in genuine conversation; this has been pushed to you as the board as a political maneuver,” Dr. Michael Haller, a pediatric endocrinologist from the University of Florida, told the board during the meeting.

The department’s petition suggests that no surgeries, hormone blockers, or even social transitioning be allowed in children and adolescents. This goes against the recommendations of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Social Workers, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Endocrine Society, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

The meeting began at 8 a.m. and the discussion started in the afternoon. Equality Florida hosted a rally outside of the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport at Dania Pointe, where the transgender community, activists, community organizers and allies waved signs and chanted “trans power!” Speakers included Dr. Haller, Tatiana Williams of Transinclusive, Nathan Bruemmer of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Jeannette Jennings, the mother of Jazz Jennings, a transgender woman. After the rally, many participants entered the hotel to sit for the meeting, waiting through the other agenda items.

Also in the audience were members from Moms for LIberty and the Christian Family Coalition of Florida, donning stickers that read “let kids be kids.” Anthony Verdugo, the founder of the Christian Family Council Florida chapter, said that the decision surrounding gender — such as hormone therapy and surgeries — should be done when they’re an adult and the group was there to stand up for children and their protection. The chairperson for the Collier County chapter of Moms for Liberty also said that children are not mature enough to make decisions surrounding treatment.

Others opposing the treatment called it “barbaric and cruel” and “mutilation.”

Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a Georgia doctor, testified that due to COVID, people were “living in internet land” for two years and were exposed to the ideas of gender identity and that the country was conducting “a giant experiment on American children.”

In 2020, a Texas judge ruled that his testimony be thrown out in a divorce case that involved a transgender child, saying that he was not able to provide fact-driven evidence.

Dr. Haller and his colleague Dr. Kristin A. Dayton answered questions from the Board of Medicine, including the number of children they were treating for gender dysphoria, the medications they were receiving, and their standard of care for receiving top and bottom surgery. They explained that their clinics generally do not allow top surgery for patients younger than 16 and bottom surgery is usually not done until the age of 18. They also said treatments cannot be done without parental consent, which can be complicated when parents have opposing views on the matter.

During three hours of public comment, people on both sides of the issue spoke for or against the petition. This included those who have detransitioned, sharing that they felt pressured to go through transition, which they regretted. Others told stories of how hormone therapy saved their lives. Comments had to be cut short due to the large number of people who signed up, and the board voted in favor of starting the process of implementing the Department of Health’s recommendations, as well as creating a 24-hour waiting period for adults seeking treatment.

“This proposed rule is dangerous,” said FL Rep. Anna Eskemani. “Identifying as trans is not like bell-bottom jeans. It is someone’s identity and must be respected and acknowledged. These are folks that just want to be treated with dignity and respect like anyone else.”