‘It is Chemical Castration’: Florida Dept. of Health Press Sec. Fires Back at PolitiFact for Downplaying Gender Transition for Children

By Eric Daugherty, Florida's Voice

August 12, 2022 Updated 10:09 AM ET


August 11, 2022 Updated 9:59 A.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – PolitiFact published a disputed fact-check on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statement saying, “They are literally chopping off the private parts of young kids,” at a press conference August 4, 2022.

PolitiFact’s rating of DeSantis’ claim was “mostly false.” PolitiFact said that they found “no examples of ‘young kids’ receiving transition-related surgery. The Florida Department of Health differentiates between children — under 10 — and adolescents — between 10 and 18. DeSantis’ office provided PolitiFact with two cases involving adolescents.”

“That is not true under any existing medical guidelines,” Dr. Jack Turban, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, told PolitiFact. “No medical or surgical interventions are considered for prepubertal children.”

Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, told Florida’s Voice that organizations like the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) do suggest starting children on puberty blockers during an early stage of puberty – tanner stage 2, around the age of 9-11 in girls and 11-12 in boys. Find that recommendation here.

Redfern said puberty blockers prevent development of secondary sex characteristics.

It is chemical castration, and it’s unknown how this affects long-term fertility,” he explained. “Some evidence suggests that stopping puberty blockers will allow puberty to move forward normally, but the quality of evidence is low to very low. Basically, we don’t know if this is actually true.”

He said the “risks” of using puberty blockers at tanner stage 2 do not demonstrate “long-term safety due to the lack of high quality randomized controlled trials.”

At the University of Florida, Dr. Michael Haller admitted that a 14 year-old girl received a double mastectomy.

“You wrote in this note to mean none under the age of 14 – so, that would imply that there were some 14 and 15 year-olds having top surgery or mastectomy at your institution, correct?” Haller was asked at a Florida Board of Medicine hearing. “Correct,” he replied.

The DeSantis Administration more frequently has taken up an anti-castration stance on children, which activists and members of the media refer to as “gender-affirming care.”

One CBS Orlando reporter asked Redfern, “Hearing that FL DOH has released the proposed rule that would ban access to gender affirming care for people under the age of 18. Can you confirm? Do you have a press release you can share with us about this?”

Redfern fired back: “By ‘gender affirming care,’ you mean puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and double mastectomies for young/teenaged girls, right?”

CBS Orlando avoided directly addressing Redfern’s request for clarification.

“I’m not sure what you are getting at by asking our assignment editor their personal opinion on the term ‘gender affirming care,’” they said. “Can you or someone else within the Florida Department of Health provide to us the document entitled ‘Petition to Initiate Rulemaking Setting the Standard of Care for Treatment of Gender Dysphoria’? If you can not — please explain why.”

“I’m asking why you referred to it as ‘gender affirming care’ instead of using an objective term such as ‘double mastectomies for children [with] gender dysphoria,’” Redfern replied. “Are you talking about the document that proposes restrictions on treating gender dysphoria with puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and surgeries such as double mastectomies on children? If so, I can easily point you in the right direction.”

CBS Orlando then claimed they did not use the term “gender affirming care,” to which Redfern replied, “Your news room’s use of the phrase is now public record.”

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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