Ron DeSantis Lied About ‘Mutilation’ in Pushing Anti-Trans Law, Judge Says

Author: Trudy Ring

A federal judge Thursday ripped into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for spreading lies about gender-affirming care for transgender young people.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle made the comments in court during closing arguments in the lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on this treatment. DeSantis, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has repeatedly said the ban has stopped the “mutilation” of young patients, but in reality, genital surgery is not generally performed on people under 18, and the effects of puberty blockers are reversible, while hormones’ effects are largely so. Under Florida’s ban these treatments are banned for minors along with surgery.

“When I’m analyzing the governor’s motivation, what should I make of these statements?” Hinkle asked the lawyer defending the ban, according to the Associated Press. “This seems to be more than just hyperbole.”

That lawyer, Mohammad Jazil, said the law was simply about regulating medical care and not about animosity toward transgender people. If the governor and legislators wanted to oppress trans Floridians, they could have banned all such care, for both children and adults, he said. Hinkle noted that a law like that would be difficult to defend.

Hinkle has blocked the law’s provisions affecting trans minors while he hears the suit, but he let the portions dealing with trans adults — banning their treatment by anyone other than a physician — go into effect because, he said, they would not be irreparably harmed. The law allows the treatments for young people who don’t wish to transition genders but have another condition necessitating them, such as early-onset puberty, injury to the genitals, or genital anomalies.

During the Thursday’s hearing, Hinkle raised the question of whether DeSantis’s support for the law and statements about it were politically motivated. “The governor just says, ‘I know it’s going to be in the headlines. I know it’s going to be popular. Let’s go for it,’” he said, according to the News Service of Florida.

“You’re almost never blessed with what’s actually in people’s minds,” replied Thomas Redburn, an attorney representing those challenging the law. But “when you put all that together here, you have an unconstitutional statute,” he added.

Redburn also said that “the overall driving force of denying transgender validity underlies all of it,” referring to the many anti-trans laws passed in the state, such as the “don’t say gay or trans” law, a trans-exclusionary sports statute, and others. “It’s one other piece of a whole mosaic of evidence … of invidious discrimination,” the lawyer said.

Redburn, a lawyer with Lowenstein Sandler LLP, is representing the plaintiffs along with GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Hinkle said he would rule in the case “as quick as I can.” Laws restricting gender-affirming care for trans minors have been blocked in several states while lawsuits continue, and one has been struck down by a judge — in Arkansas, although that ruling is being appealed. Twenty-two states have banned some or all such care for minors with gender dysphoria.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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