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These trans advocates say the new patient consent forms are transphobic and inaccurate

Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media

These six new forms for minors and adults go over possible risks of treatment.

The Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine recently released six new informed consent forms that will be required for transgender people to sign in the next six months to continue gender-affirming care like puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgeries.

Critics say the forms are inaccurate, intentionally vague and full of transphobic language that could scare patients from getting care — and doctors from providing it.

The forms claim that gender-affirming care is "speculative" and based on "limited, poor-quality research."

Those claims run counter to what most experts say about gender-affirming care and research supporting it — that treatment is medically safe, effective and can be life-saving.

The forms also use terms like “biological men” and “biological women,” instead of the “assigned at birth” terminology preferred by most of the transgender community.

Research supports gender-affirming care

Major medical associations across the U.S. support gender-affirming care, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, The Endocrine Society, and The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Research shows access to puberty blockers during adolescence is associated with a significant decrease in suicidal ideation. Doctors have used these medications safely for decades for cisgender children who experience precocious puberty.

The Journal of Adolescent Health found that gender-affirming hormone therapy resulted in lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among older transgender and nonbinary teens.

Astudy by Stanford University School of Medicine found that positive mental health outcomes were higher for transgender people who accessed gender-affirming hormones as teenagers versus those who accessed it as adults.

A study published in theNew England Journal of Medicine found that, two years after initiating gender-affirming hormones, transgender youth reported higher levels of life satisfaction and positive effects, and lower levels of gender dysphoria, depression and anxiety.

A study published in the medical journal the Lancet found 98% of their 720 participants diagnosed with gender dysphoria and prescribed hormone treatment as adolescents continued therapy into adulthood.

How trans people are reacting to the forms

Tristan Byrnes, one of the co-founders of TransNetwork Inc., a Tampa Bay area-based resource group for trans and nonbinary people, said his first thought after reading the consent forms was that those who wrote them think trans people can't manage their own care.

"Like, as trans people, we don't know," Byrnes said. "We don't know ourselves, and we can't help ourselves and that we need others to do that for us. And that, of course, angered me."

Andy Citino, another co-founder of TransNetwork, said for the past 20 years, he's been educating his doctors about how to treat him.

"So now they're educated, the ones that we've been seeing," Citino said. "And now we're finding ourselves having to continue to educate our own physicians on these [forms].”

Citino said it’s insulting that two decades after his transition he has to sign forms that say testosterone injections put him at “high risk of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide,” despite evidence that it actually helps reduce those risks.

“Transition saved my life … I was not in a good place," Citino said. "And I was hurting myself and hurting a lot of people around me. And I didn't know why. Until I finally figured out my truth.”

The group has hosted several community forums for trans and gender-expansive people to combat misinformation about the forms and new laws. Citino said they’ve even had a few physicians attend to ask questions.
The new forms are part of an emergency rule passed by the boards this summer.

The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis in March approved a law (SB 254) that bars doctors from providing treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy to minors. The law included an exception for minors who had already started the treatments, but it required the boards to approve emergency rules that would spell out standards for the care.

The law also created a new requirement for doctors to get “informed consent” before providing treatments to transgender adults. An agenda for Thursday’s meeting indicates the joint committee will take up those issues.

Trans patients have always had to sign informed consent forms, but Citino said the new ones are an additional hurdle.

TransNetwork is hosting a panel discussion and networking social for the trans community on Thursday at 7 p.m. Details can be found on its Instagram.

Read the informed consent forms here:

Masculinizing Medications for Patients with Gender Dysphoria – Patient Information and Informed Consent Form (PDF)

Masculinizing Medications for Patients with Gender DysphoriaPatient Information and Parental Consent and Assent for Minors (PDF)

Puberty Suppression Treatment for Patients with Gender DysphoriaPatient Information and Parental Consent and Assent for Minors (PDF)

Surgical Treatment for Adults with Gender Dysphoria – Patient Information and Informed Consent (PDF)

Feminizing Medications for Patients with Gender DysphoriaPatient Information and Informed Consent (PDF)

Feminizing Medications for Patients with Gender DysphoriaPatient Information and Parental Consent and Assent for Minors (PDF)

Copyright 2023 WUSF 89.7

Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.