Florida facing federal lawsuits: Mom for transgender treatment, teachers over personal pronoun law

Florida facing federal lawsuits: Mom for transgender treatment, teachers over personal pronoun law

(As originally published, with additional photos, Wed, December 13th 2023, 9:20 PM EST)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TND) — Three teachers in Florida filed a federal lawsuit over a state law on titles and pronouns in schools, and a trial is underway over restricting treatment for transgender people with puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

In the trial, the mother of a 12-year-old transgender girl identified as male at birth testified it would be “devastating” if her child could not get treatment for her gender dysphoria, diagnosed at age 4.

She was the first witness in a trial that’s a constitutional challenge to a law and rules on treating gender dysphoria.

Transgender minors cannot receive puberty blockers and hormone therapy, while adults have to sign informed-consent forms; plus, nurse practitioners cannot approve hormone therapy and telehealth is not allowed for new prescriptions.

In opening statements, a lawyer for the plaintiffs accused the state of “invidious discrimination” against transgender people for, among other things, not banning puberty blockers and hormone therapy to treat other conditions.

A lawyer for the state countered that the “state has every right to dictate some of the norms for medical treatment.”

An act relating to treatments for sex reassignment by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled legislature passed the law this spring, saying treatments are unproven and risky for minors. DeSantis, who’s running for president, has called the treatments “child mutilation.”


So far, the girl has gotten care from endocrinologists as preparation for puberty blockers and her mom testified she “never, ever wavered from who she is” and that her life would be “turned upside down” if she was denied treatment.

The new lawsuit, by three teachers over titles and pronouns, says the state discriminates against transgender and nonbinary educators.

Part of a law from earlier this year says a school employee “may not provide to a student his or her preferred personal title or pronouns if such preferred personal title or pronouns do not correspond to his or her sex.”

An act relating to education by Lenny Cohen on Scribd

Two of the plaintiffs are transgender and the other is a nonbinary teacher who was fired after refusing to drop the title “Mx.” and the pronouns “they/them.”

Their suit cites First Amendment rights and civil rights laws.

DeSantis criticized how pronouns were being used in schools before he signed the bill, saying, “We never did this through all of human history until like, what, two weeks ago? Now this is something, they’re having third-graders declare pronouns? We’re not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida. It’s not happening here.”


Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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