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Performing Trans Surgery on Minors May Soon Be a Felony in Florida

Doctors who perform gender reassignment surgery on children under the age of 18 will face felony charges if the bill becomes law.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — “This bill seeks to ban surgery and drugs for those under the age of 18 and gives doctors who participate in such treatments a third degree felony,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard), began.

“Additionally, it clears up custody situations in relation to these procedures; it blocks public funds for these treatments for adults; and it prohibits Florida residents from changing their gender on their birth certificate from what it is at birth,” he added.


Rep. Fine’s bill, HB 1421 – which he co-sponsored with physician Rep. Ralph E. Massullo (R-Marion) – eventually passed the committee along party lines, but not before it was met with fierce criticism from Democrat representatives and audience members.

Rep. Marie Paule Woodson (D-Broward/Miami-Dade) expressed concern over minors who are currently receiving “gender-affirming care.”

“Does this allow minors to continue to receive care or treatment if they’re currently receiving it?” she asked. Rep. Fine explained that those children who had been receiving treatment prior to this bill passing would be able to keep receiving treatment until the end of 2024.

Her concerns were echoed by Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D-Palm Beach), who asked Rep. Fine: “Where do you get the idea that puberty blockers are sterilization?”

Rep. Massullo responded by explaining that in the majority of studies, these drugs cause chemical castration, especially in men. “And the most recent studies show that their effects are irreversible,” Massullo said.


Rep. Fine added that many other countries have blocked these treatments and surgeries because of their negative long-term effects, specifically on mental development and bone density.

Debate amongst senators was followed by public testimony. Chloe Cole – a former trans-identifying child who de-transitioned after undergoing years of puberty blockers and an irreversible double mastectomy at the age of 15 – gave an emotional five-minute testimony about her personal experience with these life-altering treatments and surgeries. “I firmly believe that no adult has the right to manipulate, mutilate, or castrate a child – whether they are parents or a pediatrician,” she said.


Cole’s testimony was followed by opinions from several members in the audience, who spoke out in fierce opposition to the bill. A member of Florida PTA proclaimed: “PTA’S mission is to help make every child’s dreams a reality. Trans children and their parents deserve the same rights to access healthcare as every other Floridian. This sends us down a very dark path.”

A member of Equality Florida added: “This bill will take lives and destroy families!”

“This is a violation of parental rights… you are going to regret this. You are going to regret being complicit. Fascism always loses!” another member of Equality Florida yelled.

“Our reality is living in fear of waking up one day to hear that the state has decided that my love for my child will make me a child abuser. I could lose custody. I don’t sleep at night,” a parent of a trans-identifying teen stated.


Democrat representatives reiterated their objections to the bill. “This is a life and death situation. We will see more issues arise out of our decision today,” Rep. Woodson stated.

“I think that when we talk about freedom, freedom isn’t just what you like or agree with… As a body, we don’t just serve the type of people who look and think like us and this bill limits the opportunity for those people to be their authentic selves,” Rep. Ashley Viola Gantt (D-Miami-Dade) said.

Rep. Massullo defended the bill. “We do have freedom. But we don’t have the freedom to harm children.  This is preventing abuse medically and abuse surgically.”

Rep. Fine drew the debate to a close with an impassioned speech: “You’re damn right we’re getting in the way of parental rights. Parents don’t have the right to abuse their child. It is not medical care to cut off perfectly good body parts and to give children drugs to make them sterile. That is NOT medical care!”

The bill passed along party lines and now heads to the House floor – where it is expected to pass.