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A federal judge temporarily blocked portions of a new Florida law on Tuesday that bans transgender teens from receiving puberty blockers, arguing that “gender identity is real.” 

In his 44-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction that focuses on three transgender children whose parents requested immediate relief from the ban. The ruling states that the minors, two 11-year-olds and one 8-year-old, can continue to receive treatment with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, known as “puberty blockers” or cross-sex hormones. 

Addressing what he called “the elephant in the room,” Hinkle countered hints and suggestions by the defendants “that transgender identity is not real, that it is made up.” 

Hinkle also noted that the only defense expert who had actually treated a significant number of transgender patients agreed that gender identity exists. “At least one defense expert also has admitted it,” Hinkle wrote.

Appropriate treatment and care have been found for the children, Hinkle wrote. The overwhelming majority of medical clinicians are dedicated professionals whose first goal is the safe and effective treatment of their patients, and there is no reason to believe these doctors are motivated by anything else, he wrote. There is an approved standard of care to treat trans minors, and children can suffer from anxiety, depression and other medical conditions if they don’t receive the necessary care, the ruling said. 

Hinkle also found that the parents’ motivation for the lawsuit stemmed from “love for their children and the desire to achieve the best possible treatment for them.” 

“This is not the State’s motivation,” he wrote. 

“Today my entire family is breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we can now access the treatment that we know will keep Susan healthy and allow her to continue being the happy, confident child she has been,” Jane Doe, the mother of one of the children challenging the law, said in a written statement

The legislation that Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last month also makes it difficult for transgender adults to get treatment. Adult patients need to sign an informed consent form to access trans health care.

A request for comment from the governor’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

At least nineteen states have passed laws banning gender-affirming care for trans minors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report