Bay Area family moving out of Florida after new law restricts gender-affirming care for transgender youth

Heather St. Armand, a Tampa Bay area resident, reached her breaking point after a new law took effect this week that restricts gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

"At this point, I don’t think it’s safe for my daughter to remain here in this state," she told FOX 13. "It breaks my heart to say that."

Her 19-year-old daughter is transgender.

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The new law makes it illegal for doctors to provide hormone blockers for kids who are transgender who aren't already getting it. It also outlaws transition surgery for people younger than 18.

Although it doesn’t directly affect her daughter, St. Armand is concerned that it, along with a number of pending bills that target the LGBTQ community, is making it impossible for her and her family to feel secure and stay in Florida.

"It is painful to have to leave my community where my family is, where my roots are," she said.

The law restricting gender-affirming care for transgender youth took effect in Florida on Thursday. Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Surgeon General are big supporters.

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Earlier this month in his State of the State address, Gov. DeSantis took the bull by the horns.

"It is sad we have to say this, but our children aren’t guinea pigs for science, and we cannot allow people to make money off them mutilating them," he said.

He used Chloe Cole as a case in point. Cole is now an adult, but began hormone blockers when she was 13 years old. She had a double mastectomy, and is now an advocate against allowing these procedures for children.

However, most LGBTQ groups and a majority of the established medical community say this kind of care can be a lifeline for transgender youth.

"By 21, almost one out of two trans people have attempted suicide, without access to gender-affirming care," St. Armand said. "That staggering statistic is going to get even higher. So, this is a death sentence for some people."