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America's Republican Party resolves to challenge transgender medicalisation
Accept, don’t medicate
Children have the fundamental right to be protected from medicalised gender change and should be encouraged to “love and accept their bodies,” according to a historic resolution embraced by the national committee of America’s Republican Party.
The resolution adopted on August 25 at the summer meeting of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in Milwaukee claims that “sex-trait modification procedures”—puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and transgender surgery—are “permanent, risky, and experimental,” with potential harms including infertility, low bone density and heart disease.
“My goal is to incorporate this resolution into the 2024 RNC national platform,” said the resolution’s chief sponsor, businessman Solomon Yue, who serves as an Oregon representative on the RNC. (The committee develops the party’s platform, organises the national convention and co-ordinates campaign strategies and fund-raising.)
“I had 54 co-sponsors and 19 sponsoring states supporting [the resolution],” Mr Yue told GCN.
“I want to see [Republican House of Representatives] members introduce legislation to restrict access to these medical interventions for minors.”
The resolution says federal funding should not be used to pay for these medical procedures, and insurance companies should not be mandated to offer coverage. However, the Republican document stipulates that if insurers do give coverage for these interventions, they should also provide coverage “for any reversal procedures”.
The RNC resolution touches on key elements of the debate often ignored by mainstream media—such as the weak evidence base for “gender-affirming care”, the fact that children as young as age 10-12 are asked to put at risk their future fertility and sexual function, and Europe’s more cautious shift away from routine use of blockers and hormones.
As a Republican rallying cry, the resolution sets up a sharp contrast with the Biden Democratic administration which in March 2022 issued an extraordinary “fact sheet” asserting “the importance of gender affirming care for children and adolescents” and claiming that state laws denying access to these invasive treatments would offend constitutional guarantees.
A score of Republican states have laws or policies restricting trans medical interventions for minors; the trend in Democratic states is to create a gender medicine sanctuary for trans-identifying youth inbound from Republican states.
Americans opposed to medicalisation of gender non-conforming youth include lifelong Democrat voters who declare themselves “politically homeless”. There are many people—including parents, detransitioners, clinicians and researchers—who see the politics as a distraction from core questions of evidence-based medicine and child safeguarding.
Mr Yue, who came to America as a student escaping the Cultural Revolution and “thought control” of communist China, said—
“I have seen not only the ‘thought control’ on this critical debate about sex-trait modification but also weaponisation of our legal system against political opponents to kill free expression.
“I will fight [President] Biden’s woke cultural revolution in America to the end because I have no place else to go.”
Video: “It’s absolutely not for kids, no kid can consent to this”—detransitioner Chloe Cole
Next stop, policy
“[The RNC resolution is] really a statement of principle that hopefully leads to policy,” said Oregon state Republican representative Ed Diehl, who worked on the draft resolution with expert advice.
“That is definitely the intent—that the candidates running for national office would adopt and endorse that [resolution] and push legislation that supports it,” he told GCN.
Earlier this year, the Democrat-controlled Oregon state legislature passed a law requiring private health insurers and the government Medicaid system to cover gender-affirming medical interventions.
Mr Diehl had proposed an amendment to give detransitioners the same right to health insurance; his amendment was defeated. He also introduced a bill to restrict medicalised gender change for minors, but this was unsuccessful.
“Solomon Yue reached out to me [over the RNC resolution] since I have been a very outspoken opponent of sex-trait modification procedures on minors,” Mr Diehl said. “I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, so to speak, on this issue.”
The RNC resolution upholds the right of parents “to direct the healthcare decisions for their children,” and argues that “Children’s cognitive functioning continues to develop through and past the age of eighteen, and as such children are not equipped to make permanent, life-long decisions about medical procedures.
“Children and adolescents cannot consent to experimental interventions with unproven benefits and proven harms of loss of future sexual and reproductive functions, because children and adolescents cannot anticipate the importance of these adult functions in their lives,” the resolution says.
“Anger flares at the controversial [U.K.] Tavistock clinic over a sex-change operation for a young person who cannot read or write and has 14 mental health conditions”—news report, Daily Mail, 23 August 2023
One co-sponsor of the resolution, Nevada RNC representative and lawyer Sigal Chattah, said the key issue for her was parental rights—under threat, for example, if a parent resisting a child’s wish for puberty blockers were to be reported to Child Protective Services for neglect.
“Along with pending litigation across the nation—including Nevada, which I am spearheading—it is my hope that courts, academic institutions and public schools across the nation accept the [RNC] resolution as not only the will of American parents, but also a methodology that ensures and protects parental rights in our country,” Ms Chattah told GCN.
She said the resolution defended the fundamental right of parents to rear their children, as upheld in the 2000 Troxel v. Granville decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The resolution also sets Republicans against the teaching at school of “unscientific, false information” about biological sex and its immutable binary nature.
It notes that systematic reviews of the evidence base have not found “any credible benefits of youth gender transitions” and that access to puberty blockers has been restricted in Finland, Sweden and the U.K.
“The U.S. is an extreme outlier in the world in allowing invasive, permanent and irreversible sex-trait modification surgeries in youth under eighteen years old,” the resolution says.
Tweet: Leor Sapir, a well-known commentator on gender medicine, gives some media advice
Just the science
Mr Diehl said he had adopted the term “sex-trait modification procedures”—also used by Manhattan Institute fellow Leor Sapir—as an objective description.
“I see it as a neutral term and I encourage the [Republican] Party, don’t say ‘mutilation’—that is a loaded term,” Mr Diehl said. “Many folks may agree that’s what it is, but let’s stick with the science. And that’s what that (RNC) resolution did; every one of those statements is backed with evidence.”
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