Gender Identity Based on Pseudoscience Harms Children, Experts Say

Proposals in Texas, Georgia and Kentucky would ban gender-change treatments for minors

Gender Identity Based on Pseudoscience Harms Children, Experts Say

Proposals in Texas, Georgia and Kentucky would ban gender-change treatments for minors

A parental custody battle in Texas is compelling lawmakers there and in two other states to draft legislation that would make sex-change treatments for minors illegal.

Meanwhile, the Texas Attorney General’s Office has commissioned the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the case involving 7-year-old James Younger, whose mother is trying to raise him as a girl despite the divorced father’s objections. The Texas state legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until January 2021, and the parents are under a gag order not to speak about the case. 

In January, Georgia state Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, a Republican, plans to introduce a bill that would make it a felony for medical providers in her state to perform mastectomies, vasectomies, castration, hysterectomies or other forms of genital mutilation on anyone under 18 for the purpose of gender transition.

In Kentucky, GOP state Rep. Savannah Maddox began drafting a similar bill in October because of the Younger case.

Lawmakers say this legislation reflects commonsense values and is needed to protect children from a “gender identity” movement in which 18 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have banned any therapy approach that doesn’t affirm transgenderism.

Earlier this year, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that 2% of high school students in the U.S., one in 50, identify as transgender.

Behind this alarming trend, child protection advocates say, is a concerted effort among mental health, education and medical professionals—driven by ideology instead of science—that is irreparably harming children and violating parental rights. 

Parents of transgender children describe what begins as social transitioning, aided by teachers and school counselors helping implement name and personal pronoun preferences for these students. This typically devolves into preteen hormone therapy and puberty blockers, followed by surgical and chemical alteration of male and female organs, between the ages of 13 and 15.

In May, the World Health Organization removed “gender identity disorder” or “gender dysphoria” from its list of diagnoses, opening the door for public school systems to mandate “gender identity” affirming treatments based solely on a child’s inclination or preference.

“This [anti-conversion therapy] law basically says that therapists cannot question a child who identifies as the opposite sex,” says Katherine Cave, founder of The Kelsey Coalition, a national volunteer organization of parents speaking firsthand about how an insidious gender transition process propagated in doctors’ offices, schools and universities has victimized their children.

“If you go to a therapist and your daughter says that she’s a boy, you might reasonably assume that the therapist will explore why she feels this way,” says Cave, who uses a pseudonym to protect her child’s identity. “Why are laws forcing them to accept a child’s statement that goes against biology, that goes against science? There’s no scientific basis for a gender identity.”

Jay Keck, a member of The Kelsey Coalition who lives in a suburb outside Chicago, wrote an opinion piece published in USA Today in August in which he said public high school personnel recognized his autistic daughter as a boy against his repeated objections.

Keck wrote that his daughter’s high school in Hinsdale District 86 continued to follow a 2016 Obama administration recommendation to officially affirm transgender students even though a federal judge in Texas blocked the guidelines from being enforced.

“Thanks in large part to my daughter’s school, my daughter is more convinced than ever that she is a boy and that testosterone may be necessary for her to become her authentic self,” Keck writes. 

In February 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidelines, leaving states to set their own gender transition policies for minors. 

Legal threats, however, from LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Campaign, seem to have had a chilling effect on state school systems and local municipalities. The school districts and cities have largely acquiesced by adopting conversion therapy bans requiring unequivocal affirmation of children’s gender identity preferences void of any scientific inquiry or support.

For example, laws to ban conversion therapy for minors are pending in 14 states while 55 municipalities have already banned conversion therapy in parts of Ohio, Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New York, Wisconsin and Colorado. 

A federal judge, however, ruled in October that the Tampa City Council in Florida could not enforce its ordinance prohibiting counseling services for unwanted same-sex attraction and gender identity confusion.

And while North Carolina’s anti-conversion therapy bill awaits a vote by legislators, Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper pre-emptively signed an executive order in August banning state funding of anything deemed “conversion therapy” for minors.

“This is a medical scandal and a failure of mental health professionals that has also taken over our schools,” Cave says. 

“We have all of our major medical associations and psychological associations endorsing the idea that there actually is a gender identity, and we have our major school associations endorsing the idea that young children need to be taught about their gender identity.”

Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist in Rocklin, California, and a member of the Kelsey Coalition, said in a video posted on the organization’s website that the so-called “Equality Act” “represents the biggest threat to children’s health ever conceived of in a bill before Congress.”

Passed by the U.S. House this spring, the proposed legislation attempts to codify gender identity and sexual orientation under federal discrimination protections.

“No child should be given puberty blockers for this condition,” Laidlaw says. “These powerful drugs stop puberty. They are not FDA approved for this condition. They can lead to sterility and sexual dysfunction. They can also lead to anxiety, depression and delusion. They will inhibit normal brain development. No child should be prescribed cross-sex hormones—meaning hormones of the opposite sex.”

Laidlaw says his findings from a Freedom of Information Act request of four pediatric gender clinics—which received $5.7 million in National Institutes of Health grants in 2015—revealed that neither a control group nor standard randomization was used in the clinics’ study of the effects of puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones on children receiving gender transition treatments. In 2017, the taxpayer-funded study lowered the minimum age to receive cross-sex hormones from 13 to 8.

“These medications bring about serious cardiovascular risks such as heart attack, strokes and deadly blood clots and therefore should never be given to children,” Laidlaw says.

Citing the universal scientific community’s agreement that human brain development is not complete until at least age 25, Cave says it’s incomprehensible that the state of Oregon allows minors to undergo Medicaid-funded sex-change surgeries without parental consent.

Meanwhile, Cave says, in the United Kingdom, there has been more than a 4,000% increase among girls reporting to gender clinics over the past decade.

“The numbers alone should be giving people pause,” she says. “There are many other cases happening right now that people don’t know about because they can’t know about them, because no one is allowed to talk.” 


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