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House Republicans Spew Transphobia in Hearing on Gender-Affirming Care

House Republicans Spew Transphobia in Hearing on Gender-Affirming Care

Mike Johnson

At one point a Republican equated gender-affirming care for kids to giving them ice cream for every meal.


Republicans in the House of Representatives continued their assault on transgender Americans Thursday morning by making outrageous and offensive claims about gender-affirming care.

Billed as a hearing on “The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children,” GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government sought to paint established and necessary health care for children and adolescents who are transgender as fringe and damaging, despite a plethora of evidence proving otherwise.

“No parent has a Constitutional right to injure their children,” committee chairman Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana said as he opened the hearing.

Gender-affirming care improves children’s lives, the vast majority of doctors agree. Every major medical association in the U.S. support gender-affirming care for trans youth. The American Medical Association even strengthened its position supporting the care for all transgender and gender-diverse people back in June.

Johnson then criticized the concept of inclusivity, harking back to a time when they say America was better.

“The reach of radical sexual identity politics isn’t limited to young children alone,” he said, conflating sexual orientation and gender identity, which are two separate things. He then politicized transgender people with outrageous and delegitimizing language in the next breath.

“We see this extended to young adults, especially at the university level now. The modern left applauds men competing in women’s college athletics. We see universities captured by academics advancing this ideology on students across our country. Whether it’s by scalpel or by social coercion from teachers, professors, administrators, and left-wing media, it’s an aggressive attempt to transition the young people of our country. They’re doing this psychologically, and now they’re doing it even physically. Something has gone terribly wrong,” he said.

Johnson called gender-affirming care "barbarism" and claimed, "This is the mutilation of children and it should be prohibited by our law."

Transgender youth who do not receive gender-affirming care are often at higher risk of attempting suicide or suicide ideation.

The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for

Democrats refuted the bigotry spewed forth by their colleagues on the right.

“Holding a hearing to substitute far-right ideologies over parental judgment exposes the rank hypocrisy of the party claiming to value individual freedom and small government,” ranking committee member Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania said in her opening statement.

“And before the subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, no less,” she pointed out, noting what she saw as the irony of the conservatives’ endeavor to control the private medical decisions of families. “Make no mistake, today’s hearing is not about protecting children’s or parents’ rights. It is a cynical and dangerous political attack on transgender children and their families. It is not driven by science or facts, but by polling and political strategists determined to mobilize conservative voters through fear.”

During the hearing, Republicans called four witnesses (none of them physicians or medical experts) to support GOP members’ notion that gender-affirming care was unproven and harmful.

Scanlon countered, “Let me start by setting the record straight. Gender-affirming care is safe and effective. It is supported by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, representing more than 1.3 million American doctors. It’s not up for debate.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the most bombastic and proudly anti-LGBTQ+ far-right members of Congress, initially attended the hearing to introduce some of the witnesses, but because she doesn’t sit on that committee, Scanlon objected by making a point of order which meant that Greene did not speak further.

New York’s Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, said he was “absolutely disgusted” by the Republican charade disguised as a hearing.

“What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a taxpayer-funded platform for congressional Republicans to bully transgender kids who are already some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Things are already tough enough for these kids and their parents,” he said emphatically.

Nadler said, “I trust parents and medical professionals, not politicians, to make decisions about their children’s health when it comes to gender-affirming care, and so does the Constitution.”

In support of the GOP majority, Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer and critic of Lia Thomas, de-transitioner Chloe Cole, who is linked to the far-right extremists Proud Boys, Jennifer Bauwens, Director of Family Studies for the far right anti-LGBTQ+ group Family Research Council, and May Mailman, a member of the Federalist Society and senior fellow at the conservative Independent Women’s Law Center, testified. None of these witnesses are medical doctors.

Texas Republican Rep. Wesley Hunt made the outrageous comparison that parents who provide their children with essential medical care are not only bad parents, but parents who indulge their children’s every whim.

In an almost comical display, Hunt had an aide post a large image of a food pyramid in which all categories were ice cream.

“If my children had their way, they would have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and for every single meal in between. Oh, the wisdom of children!” Hunt said in a sarcastic tone. “But in a sane country, we know that children aren’t mature enough to make adult decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. That’s why we have parents!”

Children do not just access gender-affirming care without their parents or guardians providing input, support, and approval just like any other medical care that children receive.

Hunt continued with his reductive remarks.

“When it comes to gender dysphoria in children, many in the American medical establishment have absolutely lost their minds,” he claimed. “A child will tell their parent they have thoughts of gender dysphoria, and the parent may take that child to a doctor, but the doctor, instead of questioning the root cause of the dysphoria, will instead affirm the child’s thoughts and proceed with gender-affirming care. But as many as my colleagues on the left want you to believe there isn’t widespread agreement on how to treat gender dysphoria, I can assure you that child mutilation is not the answer.”

Every major medical association in the United States, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, endorses gender-affirming care as safe, effective, and necessary treatment.

The Democratic witnesses comprised NCLR legal director Shannon Minter and Myriam Reynolds, an art therapist and licensed counselor who lives in Texas and has a transgender son, to speak on the realities of gender-affirming care.

Minter explained that gender-affirming care misinformation in America is toxic.

“As a transgender person myself, I have benefited from decades of access to healthcare, legal equality, support, been able to marry, have a family, pursue a career, participate in my local church and community,” he said. “It is very disheartening to see the protections that have given me and other transgender people so many opportunities to thrive and to succeed now just being needlessly taken away from young people.

“Healthcare bans conflict with medical expertise,” Minter continued. “They rob parents of their right to make medical decisions for their children. They have devastating consequences for young people’s lives.”

Minter summed up the reason Democrats have stood firmly behind families with transgender kids.

“Decisions about children’s medical care should be made by the parents who love them, not by politicians who know nothing about a child’s life or history or circumstances, and who won’t be the ones having to watch a young person they love suffer the devastating consequences of going without needed medical care.”

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