Conservative states ready for transgender battles
Sexuality | Pro-family advocates expect to defend laws protecting children
by Mary Jackson
Posted 1/22/21, 04:11 pm
At least six state legislatures are considering laws to protect children from experimental transgender treatments—putting them on a collision course with the Biden administration.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order indicating the White House will “prevent and combat” any perceived discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Pro-family groups were already preparing for hostility from the federal government toward their efforts to safeguard gender dysphoric children from irreversible damage.
“We are not opposed to fighting these battles in the courts if that is what it takes to protect children,” said Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation. “It is an issue that is only going to build as more people who transition realize it did not fulfill them.”
In Montana, Republican state Rep. John Fuller’s new bill, titled “An Act Providing for Youth Health Protection,” would restrict providers from treating gender dysphoria in minors with hormone-altering drugs and surgeries such as castrations and mastectomies that remove otherwise healthy body parts and tissue. Violators could face a fine of up to $50,000.
Fuller has called the treatments barbaric and deeply wrong.
A 2020 study showed that putting gender-dysphoric children on puberty blockers locked them into taking cross-sex hormones, which alter sex characteristics permanently and cause sterility and other risks including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, blood clots, and cancers. Puberty blockers flatlined children’s bone density and normal growth, while showing no improvement in their psychological well-being, according to the study from Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust, the United Kingdom’s leading facility for treating gender dysphoric children.
Supporters of the treatments argue puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change surgeries help individuals with gender dysphoria feel more comfortable in their bodies and mitigate suicide risk. But a growing body of medical professionals argue hormones and surgery do not deal with the underlying mental health causes that lead to dysphoria and suicide attempts. Only 6 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls who are confused about their gender in childhood choose to identify as the opposite sex in adulthood, according to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
The U.K. High Court ruled on Dec. 1 that doctors must seek a court order before administering puberty-blocking drugs to children younger than 16. It found that doctors failed to provide a scientific basis for the treatment or explain its irreversible effects on children. The Tavistock Center has appealed the ruling.
I spoke with pro-family activists in Alabama, Georgia, and Utah who are supporting legislation similar to Montana’s. In early 2020, the Alabama Senate passed a bill, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the state’s legislative session and kept it from moving forward. This year, Alabama lawmakers are trying again.
“This is happening right under our noses in Alabama and across the nation,” said Margaret Clarke, legal counsel for the Eagle Forum of Alabama. “This is about protecting children from irreparable harm to their bodies. …What happens in 10 years when they regret this?”
Mary is a book reviewer and reporter for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area. Follow her on Twitter @mbjackson77.