LGB Alliance USA has recently learned about the newly amended California SB 107, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener. This bill is a partisan, knee-jerk response to recent policies enacted in other states that are intended to prevent trans-identifying minors from medically and socially transitioning. More precisely, it declares that attempts by other states to make “civil or criminal action against a person or entity that allows a child to receive gender-affirming health care to be contrary to the public policy of this state.” While we support attempts to help gender dysphoric youth, we believe this bill takes the wrong approach to this issue.
This particular bill is written under the fallacious premise that “gender affirming care” is something that should be protected. However, the very term “gender-affirming care” is a euphemism that obscures the reality of such “care”—namely, that it sets people on the path of lifelong medicalization based on scientifically dubious treatments, including hormones, puberty blockers, and mastectomies. No minor should be subjected to such treatments for gender dysphoria, as they have damaging and irreversible effects. Contrary to what SB 107 says, we believe it absolutely should be the public policy of the state of California to protect minors from adults who would irresponsibly set them on the course for such “treatments.”
On top of this, the term “gender-affirming care” necessitates the existence of something called “gender” that exists separate from the physical body, and hence must be “affirmed” by altering the physical body. But what is “gender” if it’s not biological sex? The bill doesn’t say. It is bad policy to write bills based on undefined terminology.
We would like to highlight that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are over-represented amongst gender dysphoric youth. LGB youth ought to be encouraged to accept their sexuality without feeling a need to permanently medically alter their bodies. We are deeply concerned that any attempt to codify the protection of so-called “gender affirming care” into law will only encourage LGB youth to develop unhealthy attitudes towards their bodies. Indeed, we believe that attempts to affirm trans identities in lesbian and gay youth can itself be viewed as a form of “conversion therapy,” since it encourages homosexual individuals to adopt new heterosexual identities.
As an alternative, we would like to endorse the guidelines recently released by the Florida Department of Health. Such guidelines recommend against medical and social gender transition for minors, but rather encourage counseling for youth struggling with gender dysphoria. We believe such guidelines better serve the interests of gender dysphoric youth than California SB 107. However, we would also like to emphasize that we only support counseling that encourages lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth to accept their sexuality. We condemn attempts by homophobic counselors aimed at making same-sex attracted individuals heterosexual.
For the full text of Florida’s guidelines, click here.