In the recent Senate confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine, President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pulled back the curtain on the left’s promotion of “transgender medicine” by naming what it truly is: the “surgical destruction of [minors’] genitalia.”
It is shocking that any U.S. president or presidential appointee would openly support the genital mutilation of American children under the guise of “medicine.” Thankfully, administrations come and go.
But legislation can last lifetimes. Unlike the Biden administration, the Equality Act—which the Senate Judiciary Committee just held a hearing on—could normalize the destruction of children’s bodies and fertility for generations to come.
One only has to look at our neighbors across the pond to get a glimpse of what such a world would look like. Since its passage of its own Equality Act in 2010—which expressly protects citizens seeking, in the process of, or having already undergone gender reassignment—the United Kingdom has seen a 1,460 percent increase in referrals of boys and a 5,337 percent increase in referrals of girls to the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Disorder Service, the country’s only gender clinic for children.
In recent years, the destruction of minors’ genitalia under the guise of “transgender medicine” was at risk of becoming the norm. The standard “care” provided for these children involved the prescription of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and even surgical interventions—so much so that the clinic was even accused of fast-tracking children into transitioning.
Dr. David Bell, one of Tavistock’s doctors who reported these concerns, faced disciplinary action after speaking up. This led many others to resign.
Since then, the High Court ruled this past December that minors under the age of sixteen would no longer be able to receive puberty-blocking drugs without approval from a judge. The court reasoned that minors under sixteen are too young to give informed consent to the drugs, which have life-altering and irreversible effects.
During Dr. Levine’s hearing, Sen. Paul cited the girl represented in that very case: Keira Bell.
After receiving testosterone and a double mastectomy without undergoing thorough evaluation, Ms. Bell now regrets her decision to “transition.”
Born a female, Bell was a tomboy who grew up with divorced parents, was bullied in school, and struggled to make friends of either sex. She came to blame her struggles on the fact that she was born a girl. Around age fourteen, Bell turned to internet forums where she discovered the idea of transsexualism and was soon convinced that she, too, was a male born in female body.
After three one-hour appointments without any resistance or questioning from doctors, the sixteen-year-old Bell received puberty blockers. After one year she was prescribed testosterone. And within four years of starting on puberty blockers, doctors removed her breasts.
Not once did a health care professional ask her if she was sure she wanted to go through with the mastectomy. Not her counselors, not her doctors, not her surgeons.
Sadly, Bell’s tragic story would be repeated over and over again in the lives of American girls and boys if the Equality Act becomes law.
That’s not how the Left is selling the Equality Act. No, this Trojan horse is being advanced under the cloak of human rights. Yet it would devastate the mental, emotional, and physical heath of America’s children.
By confusing and conflating disagreement on gender dysphoria with “discrimination” on the basis of gender identity, the Equality Act would politicize the treatment of gender dysphoria by punishing all those who dissent from the left’s gender ideology. Doctors, counselors, and parents who want to help children reconcile with their biological sex would be liable to punishment, all in the name of combatting “discrimination.”
In fact, hospitals, medical doctors, and counselors would be forced to follow Dr. Levine’s advice on “transgender medicine.” This means that they could be sued for refusing to provide or perform “gender-affirming” interventions, like puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries.
If the Equality Act is passed, doctors will be canceled by law, just as Dr. Allen Josephson was fired by Louisiana University and Dr. Paul McHugh, a doctor at John Hopkins, was targeted for a smear campaign after each expressed concerns about the lack of scientifically-proven health benefits of transition procedures. Hospitals, too, will come under fire, like Dignity Health medical center, for having policies that refuse to remove perfectly healthy sex organs in order to help a patient “transition.”
Educators could be compelled to teach destructive ideas about gender identity to students as early as kindergarten, even though 66 percent of parents oppose it. Schools, private and public alike, would be pressured into allowing males to join female sports teams and to use locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms according to their self-professed gender identity.
However, the Equality Act will wreak the most lasting damage not on doctors and counselors, by eliminating conscience protections and religious exemptions, but on children. The Equality Act will normalize the chemical and surgical destruction—or as Sen. Paul correctly identified, genital mutilation—of America’s children by politicizing care for gender dysphoria.
Parents will lack alternatives apart from medical professionals who practice destructive transgender “medicine.” The cost of this ill-advised legislation will be paid by gender dysphoric children over the rest of their lifetimes, even though the bill’s proponents claim to be helping them.
Given that nine times more Gen Z-ers identify as transgender than their Gen X or Baby Boomer parents, more children and teenagers like Ms. Bell are going to seek treatment for gender dysphoria. The Equality Act would make sure that no doctors or counselors could advise them to press pause until going through puberty, as Keira Bell wishes she had done. If the Equality Act is passed, children will be told that they can consent to irreversible changes to their bodies, and anyone who tries to stop them will be on the wrong side of the law.
Never mind the science which shows that, among children who struggle with gender dysphoria, 88 percent of girls and 98 percent of boys will reconcile with their biological sex if allowed to go through puberty. Never mind the science which shows that those who undergo sex change interventions—by receiving puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or surgeries—are permanently sterilized and experience no lasting benefits to mental health.
By injecting transgender politics into civil rights law, the Equality Act endangers all American children. And the addition of religious exemptions, as in the “Fairness for All” bill, won’t be enough to protect them.
The British put a stop to this madness by ruling to protect their children by law. Americans now have the chance to do the same for our children—by exposing the dark truth about the Equality Act before it becomes law.
Jared Eckert is a researcher in the DeVos Center for Religion and Society at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org)