Wyoming’s lone U.S. House representative wants to re-frame the language around transgender-related treatments for kids.
Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyoming, questioned witnesses Thursday during a congressional hearing on gender-change treatments for minors, cross-sex participation in sports and related issues in the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.
Committee Democrats, in turn, rebuked Hageman and other Republicans, characterizing the hearing as an effort to dehumanize transgender kids and mobilize conservative voters.
The hearing’s official title was “Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children.”
“I have wanted to replace the misleading terminology ‘gender-affirming care,’ especially as it relates to children,” said Hageman during a back-and-forth with Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, director of the Center for Family Studies. “Because, one: it replaces the biological reality of sex; and two: because it falsely suggests in using the term ‘affirming,’ that there is anything good going on here.”
Hageman insisted that “boys are boys, girls are girls, and one cannot become the other.”
She compared transgender-related treatments for kids to lobotomy, an outdated psychiatric brain surgery most Americans now consider inhumane.
"When it comes to children it seems to me that 'gender-affirming care' is better described as 'sexual lobotomy,’” said Hageman.
She raised concerns about long-term medical and psychological impacts of transgender-related treatments for kids.
Bauwens responded, referencing earlier statements about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ support of such treatments for kids as life-saving. Eighty percent of the Academy’s membership, said Bauwens, is asking for a review of the literature on the topic.
“And they’ve been denied that review by the upper echelon,” she said.
Bauwens derided characterizations of treatments as “life-saving,” saying the emotionally-charged term stifles scientific inquiry.
New York Dem ‘Disgusted’
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, was “disgusted.”
“It is so infuriating that Congressional Republicans are using their megaphone to single out transgender kids and their parents by labeling their very existence to be a social problem,” said Nadler. “Practically accusing their parents of being criminals for seeking safe, life-saving medical treatment for their children.”
Nadler said the government should not intrude upon parents’ decisions to seek “gender-affirming care” for their children.
Every federal district court that has considered the constitutionality of state laws banning those treatments has ruled the bans violate the rights of parents, Nadler added.
Nadler referenced federal court rulings repeatedly in a later exchange with Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
‘She’s In The 2%’
Witnesses on both sides of the issue presented to the committee. These included Bauwens, Minter and:
De-transitioner and anti-child-transition activist Chloe Cole, who had a double mastectomy at age 15.
Paula Scanlan, former University of Pennsylvania swimmer and women’s rights advocate.
May Mailman, senior legal fellow for the Independent Women’s Law Center.
Myriam Reynolds, a licensed professional counselor and mother of a transgender son who is now grown.
Cole delivered an opening statement of regret for having taken puberty blockers and testosterone from a young age and having both breasts removed at age 15.
“I used to believe I was born in the wrong body. The adults in my life, whom I trusted, affirmed my belief,” said Cole, adding that gender-transition professionals told her parents she would likely kill herself if they did not medically transition her to appear as a boy.
“This sent our entire family down a path of ideologically-motivated deceit and coercion,” said Cole.
Nadler noted that Cole is the minority.
“That story is the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of people who receive these treatments are getting them per careful assessment, because they really need them,” said Minter.
He said 98% of minors who receive gender-transition treatments continue them into adulthood.
“So she’s part of the 2%,” said Nadler.
“Apparently so,” answered Minter.
Difficult To Go Back
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, used part of his allotted speaking time to let Cole respond.
“I’ve yet to see a trans-identifying child who had a positive outcome with their transition,” said Cole. “The reason why most children who are affirmed continue on … is because once you’ve socially transitioned or go on blockers or start getting interventionist surgery or hormones, it’s incredibly difficult to go back.”
“It’s irreversible is what you’re saying,” said McClintock.
“Absolutely,” answered Cole.
Reynolds disagreed. Her transgender son who is now 18 is flourishing, she said.
“He graduated from high school,” she said. “He’s embarking on adulthood. He’s dating a little.”
The youth’s “Christian, conservative grandparents” also are supportive and affirming of the youth’s male identity, Reynolds added.
“The health care my son accessed was life-saving,” she said.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.