Editorial: Idaho and Texas use trans children as political pawns


It’s an election year, which means it’s time for naked political tricks to woo voters. Republicans in Idaho and Texas have broken new ground to help conservative voters by attempting to shut down medical treatment that helps transgender minors transition, even if parents, doctors and therapists agree on the need for those treatments.

A the invoice which happened overwhelmingly at the Idaho House last week the most extreme example of similar laws in other states. It would make it a crime for parents or healthcare professionals to consent to so-called gender-affirming care of transgender minors. It would be illegal for parents to take their children abroad with the intention of receiving this treatment.

It is despicable for politicians to threaten medical care that has been reviewed and peer-reviewed by mainstream medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, and pretend they are acting to protect the health of young people. They ignore current medical and psychological thinking and make families and transgender teenagers feel singled out because of hate. These measures could be crushed in court, but in the meantime they make it harder for transgender youth to receive or continue to receive the medical care they need. According to a 2017 report by UCLA’s Williams Institute less than 1% of teenagers identify as transgender and many of them do not receive medical treatment related to their sexual identity.

Even such moves by Republican politicians are hypocritical. When it comes to masks and COVID-19 vaccination requirements for children, these politicians say it’s a matter for families. But they seem fine with depriving parents of their right to help their children with a complicated medical decision that, unlike COVID-19, has no impact on the health or safety of others.

On a medical level, failure to get treatment early could make the transition as adults more difficult. For example, transgender teens and preteens are often given puberty blockers to delay the onset of secondary sex characteristics. With puberty blockers and hormone therapy, a transgender man may not develop breasts and may not feel the need for a mastectomy later in life.

Although it has been shown to date that gender-affirming treatments appear generally safe and, in the case of puberty blockers, reversible, long-term health effects can also occur. According to the Mayo ClinicThis can include slower bone growth and lower bone density, as well as future infertility problems. But we also know some of the effects of inadequate care: Transgender teens have dramatically higher rates of suicide attempts and self harmaccording to papers by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The use of puberty blockers is associated with a reduced risk from suicidal thoughts.

The decision to seek gender-affirming teen care should be made in consultation with physicians and psychologists, who must meet certain criteria before offering treatment to transition children. The last thing parents need are politicians telling them supporting their children is wrong or threatening to take their children away from them.

But that’s the approach Texas officials are taking. prosecutor. General Ken Paxton issued an opinion February says gender-affirming treatments and surgeries Procedures for transgender children could be viewed as a form of child abuse; gov. Greg Abbott quickly followed by directing social workers to investigate parents who were helping their transgender children receive gender-affirming treatment and even encouraging neighbors to spy on one another.

A Texas judge on Friday issued an injunction blocking investigations into families taking care of their children. But the effects of this outrageous investigation are already being felt; Texas Children’s Hospital, the country’s largest children’s hospital, has decided to suspend all gender-affirming treatment for minors.

A federal judge also temporarily stopped one Arkansas law last year that banned treatments for transgender minors; an appeal is being lodged against this judgment. But more anti-transgender laws are already in the works. Other states, including Alabama and Louisiana, have bills pending with various restrictions. All of them are discriminatory and try to insert laws into a decision that should be left to families and doctors.

To single out a vulnerable group — and try to restrict the movements of its members out of the state, as Idaho would do, or encourage the spying and gossip of McCarthy-era neighbors, as the Texas governor wants — is a despicable way to score points with voters. Even if all of these efforts ultimately fail in court, a resolution could still be years away, causing untold harm to today’s transgender teens and their families. Editorial: Idaho and Texas use trans children as political pawns

Caroline Bleakley

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