16 Democratic AGs condemn DeSantis' request for trans college students' information

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to police officers about protecting law and order on Feb. 20, 2023 in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Sixteen Democratic attorneys general have condemned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' request for information about students who sought or received gender-affirming care at public colleges in Florida.

Driving the news: DeSantis has asked state universities to complete a survey detailing the numbers and ages of students who have accessed treatments for gender dysphoria, including gender reassignment surgeries and hormone prescriptions.

What they're saying: "This information request may be intended to intimidate, and will actually intimidate, university administrators and health care providers and chill vulnerable students … from accessing necessary medical care," the coalition, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, wrote in a letter to DeSantis this week.

  • "Further, public reports suggest that you may seek to use the information sought to eliminate funding for necessary gender-affirming health care for students."
  • "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 letter noted.
  • "Accordingly, we urge you to reconsider this action and rescind the information request immediately."
  • A spokesperson for DeSantis did not immediately return a request for comment.

State of play: Reputable medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have warned that restrictions on gender-affirming care could lead to negative impacts on mental health for trans youth, who have an increased risk of suicide.

  • But DeSantis and other high-profile Republicans — including former President Trump — have homed in on gender-affirming care as a target and sought to restrict trans people's ability to access it.
  • DeSantis' administration has asked the state board regulating doctors to essentially ban transition-related care for trans minors and advised doctors to ignore federal guidance and stop assisting children and teens with gender transitions.
  • He also signed a bill in 2021 to ban trans girls from participating in school sports that align with their gender identity.

Worth noting: The Florida Board of Medicine finalized a rule in November to bar health providers in the state from offering gender-affirming care for minors. All of the members of the state's medical board were appointed by DeSantis.

The big picture: At least 97 pieces of legislation introduced in state legislatures in 2023 seek to ban aspects of gender-affirming medical care, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.

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