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Call off the callous attacks on transgender kids
So much for the “parents’ rights” Iowa Republicans frequently proclaim.
Republicans who control the Iowa House have advanced legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The bill is moving ahead even after medical experts informed lawmakers that minors do not receive such care without parental consent.
“No one is rushed through this process,” Katie Imborek, co-director of the University of Iowa Health Care’s LGBTQ+ Clinic, recently told a legislative panel. “Minors are not provided care without parental support. … The evidence shows it not only helps, but can be lifesaving.”
But Republicans have no interest in parents’ right to help their children. They’re more interested in stoking the frenzy behind several bills attacking transgender kids.
The bill would ban gender-affirming puberty blockers, hormones or surgeries for minors. The bill would allow anyone to bring a lawsuit against doctors who provide this care.
The legislation flies in the face of guidance from the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Association and the American Association of Psychologists. The groups oppose limiting gender-affirming care that can reduce mental health issues and suicide attempts.
But Republican lawmakers, who see transgender kids as some sort of societal threat and are eager to please their outraged allies on the religious right, believe they know better than health professionals. They’re in a race with other red states to marginalize vulnerable kids, pursuing the politics of righteous indignation with no fear of the consequences.
Republicans often dishonestly label kids with “gender dysphoria” in an attempt to argue transgender kids are mentally damaged. In reality, gender dysphoria is a condition spawned by the lack of acceptance, bullying and isolation experienced by transgender kids. Gender-affirming care is a treatment for gender dysphoria, permitting kids to live authentically.
“I am probably worried most that my patients who have already started down this path that are minors, that this would be really devastating for them, Imborek told lawmakers.
And this ban on medical care is just one among a series of mean-spirited bills targeting transgender youth. Other legislation would force schools to out transgender students to their parents, even if the student objects. The teaching of curriculum including transgender people would be banned in elementary grades. School staff could only use a transgender student’s preferred name and pronouns with parental permission.
Many of the books target for removal from school libraries by Republicans and allies include titles written by LGBTQ authors. A bill also has advanced barring transgender kids from using bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity, despite research showing that such a measure puts these kids in danger of bullying and assault.
To say these bills are reckless is an understatement. They’ll harm transgender kids, not to mention making Iowa into a pariah in a diverse nation that has largely embraced LGBTQ civil rights. Lawmakers should come to their senses and call off this callous attack.
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