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'You're … Permanently Altering Them': DeSantis Says He'd Support Law Banning Trans Surgeries on Children

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is widely seen as a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said on a podcast this week he would support legislation banning transgender surgeries on children.

DeSantis made the comments on political commentator Lisa Boothe’s podcast, “The Truth,” after the host asked him to opine on the Biden administration’s claim that performing body-altering surgeries on minors experiencing gender dysphoria is “crucial” and a “best practice.” Just last week, President Joe Biden’s Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine — who is a male but identifies as a transgender woman — claimed there “is no argument” among medical professionals about “the value and the importance of gender-affirming care.”

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Boothe referenced a mid-April guidance from the Florida Department of Health, which recommends against social and medical sex-based transition for anyone under 18 years old. Instead, the agency stated, “Children and adolescents should be provided social support by peers and family and seek counseling from a licensed provider.”

The host then asked DeSantis if he would support lawmakers codifying that guidance into state law.

“I would ban the — yeah, I would ban the sex change, the operations,” the governor replied. “I think that it’s something that — you can’t get a tattoo if you’re 12 years old. When they say ‘gender-affirming care,’ what they mean, a lot of times is, you are really, you’re castrating a young boy, you’re sterilizing a young girl, you’re doing mastectomies for these very young girls.”

“And, here’s the thing, what our guidance pointed to — and [Surgeon General Joseph Ladopo] did a great job — for these young kids, 80% of the cases resolve themselves as they grow up,” DeSantis continued. “And so you’re doing things that are permanently altering them, and then they’re not gonna be able to reverse that, and so I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids at all. I think the guidance is right, but I think that there should be additional protections.”

“[Because], you know, when you’re growing up, there are things that, you know, it’s an awkward time, and it seems like there’s a concerted effort in society to push these kids in to do some type of medical intervention and, in our judgment, that’s not healthy,” he added.

You can listen to the entire podcast here:

In its guidance, the Florida DOH referenced an October 2015 study showing roughly 80% of children who meet the criteria for gender dysphoria as kids self-correct, and resume to identify with their biology, as they enter puberty.

The memo states, in part:

The Department recommended against “social gender transition,” i.e., changing a child’s name, pronouns, and clothing, as a treatment option for children; opposed prescribing puberty blockers or hormone therapy to children and adolescents; and opposed gender reassignment surgeries as a treatment option. Based on the currently available evidence, “encouraging mastectomy, ovariectomy, uterine extirpation, penile disablement, tracheal shave, the prescription of hormones which are out of line with the genetic make-up of the child, or puberty blockers, are all clinical practices which run an unacceptably high risk of doing harm.”

DeSantis’ comments about this issue come as he has gone to bat against The Walt Disney Company over its opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, set to take effect July 1. The law, mischaracterized by the media as the “Don’t Say Gay bill,” prohibits public-school educators from teaching children in pre-K through third-grade classrooms about gender identity and sexual orientation.

CBN’s Faithwire has reported extensively on the saga between Disney and DeSantis.

In the weeks since The Walt Disney Company stated it is its “goal” to see the Florida law repealed, conservative lawmakers have passed legislation — which DeSantis has signed into law — disbanding the entertainment brand’s self-governing status. You can read a lengthy explainer about the Reedy Creek Improvement District here.

Defending the decision to undo the special status, DeSantis said he is “not comfortable” seeing a massive company like Disney “attacking the parents in my state” while enjoying special treatment by the Florida government.

“It just simply ends with them being treated the same as every other company in Florida,” the governor said of doing away with Disney’s special district. “They’re going to follow laws. They’re not going to have their own government. They’re going to pay their debts, pay their taxes.”

“When that company has very high up people talking about injecting pansexualism into programming for young kids, it’s wrong,” he added. “Walt Disney would not want that. And so get back to the mission. Do what you did great. That’s why people love the company, and you’ve lost your way.”

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church