The Florida Department of Health slammed U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine for "poorly attempted character assassination" over recent comments celebrating "gender-affirming care" for youths and decrying "opponents of LGBTQ equality" who have "targeted trans and queer youth to score political points."
"The Surgeon General is opposed to experimental and irreversible medical treatments on children and teenagers that suffer from gender dysphoria," Florida Department of Health spokesman Jeremy T. Redfern told Fox News Digital. "The idea that this makes anyone at the Department of Health an ‘opponent of LGBTQ equality’ is nothing more than a poorly attempted character assassination."
Redfern was responding to comments from Levine last week during a Pride Month Town Hall live-streamed by the Democratic National Committee.
"Opponents of LGBTQ equality have targeted trans and queer youth to score political points, all to distract from the fact that they do not have any solutions to the problems that we face today. They have stooped so low as to try to punish parents criminally for seeking gender-affirming care for their children who need it," Levine, who was speaking in a personal capacity, said during the town hall.
"Every major medical association agrees: gender-affirming care is life-saving, medically necessary, age-appropriate and a critical tool for health care providers," Levine continued.
Levine is the first openly transgender U.S. official to hold an office that required a Senate confirmation and has been vocal in support for transgender health care for youths, as well as adults.
The Florida Department of Health released guidance in April advising doctors in the state not to assist transgender teens and children with gender reassignment surgery or prescribe them puberty blockers. The guidance pushed back on federal guidance from the Biden administration and argued that there is a "lack of conclusive evidence" on the safety and psychological impact that hormone treatments have on youths, warning of a "potential for long-term, irreversible effects."
Redfern told Fox News Digital this week that Levine’s comment that "Every major medical association" agrees gender-affirming care is life-saving "isn’t data."
"It’s an appeal to authority that is in stark contrast to the best available evidence," he said.
"The Department of Health is following the evidence. The federal government is following the eminence."