Dr. Joseph Ladapo, in his role as the Florida’s Surgeon General, has recently led the publication of new Florida Department of Health guidance recommending that medical professionals in the state deny proper healthcare to transgender and gender-diverse children and adolescents. These recommendations directly contradict, and fail to cite, the thoroughly researched and referenced consensus standards of care for transgender and gender-nonconforming children and adolescents by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Endocrine Society, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. In their place, the recommendations put forth by Dr. Ladapo cherry-pick evidence from portions of individual studies that align with the political ideology of the executive branch of the Florida government.
Dr. Ladapo is using the appearance of expertise granted by his position as a Professor in the UF College of Medicine to encourage the harmful denial of healthcare that meets accepted and vetted standards by the AAP and other leading US medical organizations for transgender and gender-diverse children and adolescents. While experts in roles such as Surgeon General must often lead policy development outside of their medical specialty (Dr. Ladapo was trained in internal medicine), it is their role and responsibility to obtain and communicate a broad and in-depth understanding of relevant scientific and clinical data, and to develop and support policy based on the best available information. Instead, Dr. Ladapo has chosen to ignore the understanding of the relevant professionals in pursuit of political ends. While concerning in its own right, this poor scholarship is particularly problematic because it is being used to justify taking away the rights of transgender and gender-diverse children and adolescents to proper health care.
The LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and staff at UF and the LGBTQIA+ children and adolescents in their families deserve state policies that respect their rights to healthcare. It is incumbent on us to speak up when academic authority is misused to facilitate state sponsored harm to children and adolescents by attacking their rights (and those of their parents) to healthcare. We, the undersigned faculty, post-doctoral fellows, students, and staff of the University of Florida, call on the UF President, UF Provost, UF Faculty Senate, and the Dean of the UF College of Medicine to publicly support the use of accepted best practices from the leading US medical organizations to guide Florida Department of Health policy for the healthcare of transgender and gender-nonconforming adolescents.
This statement was written by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee. Six hundred members of the UF community signed it.
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