August 22, 2022

(Monday, August 22, 2022) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) medicaid ban on lifesaving healthcare for transgender youth. 

The ruling, which was finalized last week, bars Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care to transgender youth under the age of 18, took effect on Sunday, August 21st. 

In a memo released earlier this year, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made sweeping false statements about gender-affirming care that contradicts the guidance provided by every major medical association including the American Medical Association, World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), and the American Academy of Pediatrics

The memo advised healthcare workers against providing gender affirming treatment to transgender youth, as well as social transition, going as far as stating the state should mandate haircuts and clothing for children.

Ladapo has received backlash from Florida residents in the past who have called for his medical license to be revoked after allegations were made that he violated state medical laws by making false public statements about COVID-19, a complaint that was rejected by The Florida Department of Health.  

Florida joins at least 10 other states — including Arizona, Missouri and Texas — in banning residents from using Medicaid to pay for gender affirming treatment.

Equality Florida has a form for transgender Floridians who will be impacted by the Medicaid ban on gender-affirming care who are willing to share their story with the public and their legal partners. 


Statement from Tatiana Williams, Executive Director of Transinclusive Group: 

“The Agency for Health Care Administration’s (ACHA) ruling has been denounced by a team of legal and medical experts from Yale Law School, and the University of Texas Southwestern.

Gender affirming care is safe and lifesaving for our trans youth, with 77% of LGBTQ Florida voters polled strongly agreeing that ‘basic human rights for women and LGBTQ Floridians’ are being taken away by our elected officials. 

ACHA must consider these peer-reviewed facts rather than pressure from politicians looking to score points for the next election. I ask that the 77% of LGBTQ and ally Florida voters who agree feel empowered to vote in our midterm elections on November 8th, to protect the rights of our trans community. 

We must remember that freedom is a right owed to everyone, and none of us can be truly free unless we are all free.” 


Statement from Nikole Parker, Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality: 

“As it has been with these attacks across the board, the cruelty is the point. 

Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care. That care is now being shut off by a state agency that has been corrupted, weaponized, and stacked with extremists by a governor desperate to fuel his own political ambitions. For many, that will mean losing access to health care they have been relying upon for decades. The transgender community, like all people, shouldn’t have necessary care stripped away by extremist politicians working overtime to stoke right-wing fervor. This cynical attack is dangerous and puts the health of thousands at risk.” 


Statement from Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO: 

“Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) under the guidance of Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration has made a mockery of the medical profession with its history of widely debunked and irresponsible actions, which harm everyone in the state. This latest attack serves no purpose except to take lifesaving medical care away from transgender Floridians.

Every major medical association supports gender-affirming care as safe and lifesaving, and that research shows gender-affirming care dramatically improves mental health and outlook.

Our leaders must listen to the experts and to the science, which have long established best standards of care to support transgender people and give them every chance to live and succeed as their authentic selves.”


Research to include in your coverage:

  • Every major medical association including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics support access to school sports as important for children’s physical, social and emotional growth. 
  • 77% of Florida LGBTQ voters and allys polled strongly agree it’s more important than ever to vote this year because “basic human rights for women and LGBTQ Floridians are starting to be taken away by elected officials currently in charge of Florida’s government.”
  • 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say debates in the states restricting rights of transgender people negatively impacted their mental health.
  • Anti-LGBTQ legal groups (classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center) support these bills, often with identical language state to state. 


2022 is already a record-setting year for state legislation targeting LGBTQ people, with more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed. This follows 2021’s record of proposed bills targeting transgender Americans’ access to education, athletics, healthcare, and bathrooms. 

  • Freedom for All Americans tracks anti-LGBTQ legislation across the U.S.
  • Polls show wide support for laws protecting LGBTQ people - 76%. Less than one in five Americans (19%) oppose nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans. 


About Transinclusive Group:
Founded in 2017, Transinclusive Group advocates to protect and defend equality for all transgender and LGBTQ+ individuals in South Florida by building trust and relationships with community providers to end discrimination, stigma, and racial disparities to address social determinants of health. The organization is also a grantee of Gilead’s COMPASS Initiative, which works to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States. 


About Equality Florida:
Through direct legal services, policy advocacy, and impact litigation, Equality Florida advocates for immigrants and families facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.