Katelyn Burns reports on the coordinated assault on trans kids’ healthcare by right-wing US lawmakers.
eight state legislatures — including Missouri, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Colorado, South Carolina, Kentucky, and South Dakota — have already introduced bills this year that would criminally punish doctors who follow best practices for treating adolescents with gender dysphoria. In South Dakota, for example, doctors who prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones could face a $2,000 fine and a year in prison under the proposed law. South Dakota’s version of the bill was even prioritized and became the very first bill of the decade to pass out of committee… should any of the bills become law, they would effectively cut off many adolescents from medically necessary and, often, life-saving treatment for gender dysphoria.
…Bills banning trans care for kids are the new bathroom bills, part of conservatives’ larger culture war against trans people. Conservative media and politicians have been fanning the flames for this fight for years in hopes of rallying the base over a non-existent threat — a threat that only puts trans lives in danger.
Whenever the religious right realises a tactic isn’t working, it finds a new one. When it lost its war on equal marriage, it changed tactics and started attacking trans people – it’s no coincidence that the current media obsession with trans people began after 2017, when various evangelical groups agreed and began to implement their new focus on demonising trans women.
At first, they tried to make people scared of trans women in public places, but the public is well aware that you’re more likely to be sexually assaulted by a Republican politician or evangelical rabble-rouser than a trans person. So they refined that one and started to say that predatory men would pretend to be trans so that they could start acting like Republican politicians.
That didn’t fly either, so it’s time to kill some kids.
Puberty blockers are rarely prescribed. When they are, they save lives.
Study after study have shown that affirming trans and gender-diverse kids in their self-exploration improves mental health and lowers suicide risk. The affirming model, which allows children to explore their own gender identities at their own pace and can include puberty blockers, has been recommended by nearly every major American medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Endocrine Society, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and many others.
But of course, bigots don’t really do facts – especially when there are votes to be won. “Your children are under threat from minority X and only I can protect them” may be one of the oldest and most despicable political tactics in the book, but it works so it’s being rolled out again. Under the pretence of protecting children, these yahoos are quite happy at the prospect of killing quite a few of them. What’s a few more dead trans kids to people who wish trans people didn’t exist at all?
We’re starting to see exactly the same thing shift in strategy happening here in the UK, although not from openly evangelical and/or right-wing groups: from the same anti-trans activists who previously parroted the evangelical right’s previous attack lines and whose suspiciously well funded pressure groups didn’t exist before the evangelicals started their war on trans people in 2017. Many of those groups have overt or covert links to the US evangelical group The Heritage Foundation, which plays a key role in the US bills.
What conservative lawmakers are doing with their legislation is removing parents’ and kids’ choices altogether, forcing their own political ideology on the medical choices of private citizens.
This is a murderous ideology that chants “think of the children!” while trying to ban healthcare that keeps some of them alive.