State Watch

Democratic AGs slam DeSantis for seeking info on college students receiving gender-affirming care

(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis listens to others during a news conference where he spoke of new law enforcement legislation that will be introduced during the upcoming session, Jan. 26, 2023, in Miami.

A group of Democratic attorneys general sent a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday to urge him to cease his efforts to request information on college students in the state who are receiving gender-affirming care. 

The 16 signees, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, said the request for information will intimidate university administrators and health care providers and scare students from accessing needed medical care. 

They said reports have suggested that DeSantis might use the information to eliminate funding for gender-affirming care for students, which they said would follow on previous actions DeSantis has taken targeting the LGBTQ community. 

“Such actions jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of young people and their families, contravene well-accepted medical standards, unduly insert the state into the provider-patient relationship, violate students’ rights under federal law—including privacy—and offend basic human rights,” the group wrote.

A survey released in January revealed DeSantis’ plans to ask state universities for the number and ages of students who sought gender-affirming care. 

The Hill has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment. 

The attorneys general said transgender youth are among the most vulnerable groups in the United States, more likely than cisgender children to face bullying, violence, sexual assault and discrimination at school. 

They noted that The Trevor Project, which provides support services to young LGBTQ people, found last year that 60 percent of all LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care were unable to receive it. 

They said 45 percent of LGBTQ youth have also seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and about 20 percent have attempted it, compared to only about 10 percent of cisgender youth. 

“Such harms result not from transgender status itself, but from the societal stigma and discrimination transgender youth confront daily,” the officials wrote. “Indeed, there is a strong link between denial of gender-affirming care and these poor health outcomes; according to the American Medical Association, experiencing discrimination affecting access to gender-affirming care ‘is a strong predictor of suicide risk.’” 

The signees said transgender individuals having access to necessary services is associated with significantly improved health. 

They said their states are “committed to guaranteeing full equality and dignity” for transgender individuals and are also interested in protecting the rights and medical decisions of Florida students who are citizens of their states.

But, they argue, the information DeSantis is requesting could undermine the private decisions that transgender individuals make with their families and health care providers and risks their lives and wellbeing.

Tags Gender-affirming care Letitia James Letitia James LGBTQ community Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Transgender students transgender youth

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