Greetings from a pandemic that is still ongoing and getting worse in places. Here is a public service announcement: you don’t need to be eating inside of restaurants right now even if your state says it’s OK. It is a bad idea!
Other bad ideas include a laser focus on harming transgender kids by Republicans across the nation. Having decided that COVID-19 is a hoax and that Trump is still the president, Republicans are dealing with the real threat: gender non-conformity.
If it becomes impossible to tell the difference between males and females then what if a heterosexual man hits on another man because they thought they were a woman? And can’t a guy even grab a hot broad’s ass anymore without worrying about turning gay?
Earlier this month, North Carolina jumped on the desperate grasp to hold up the patriarchy wagon with Republicans introducing the Youth Health Protection Act, which is actually not concerned about protecting heath at all!
According to The Hill, the act, “focuses on prohibiting minors from accessing various gender-affirming treatments, ranging from hormone blockers to sex reassignment surgeries.”
The reasoning behind this whole thing is that maybe transgender kids are just going through a phase and this is something they just wanted to try out like longboarding or drama club.
To be honest, this is a fair concern to have! Gender-affirming treatments on minors make a lot of people nervous. I mean, what if it were legal for minors to get tattoos? So many bad decisions would be made!
Of course, comparing gender identity to getting inked with “Space Jam”-era Bugs Bunny is, well, a bad comparison and disrespectful to boot. Gender identity isn’t, after all, a quick decision made impulsively and without thought to the future.
Most importantly, the idea that a minor is going to “go trans” and then be trapped forever in that choice is based on a misconception, at best. The results of hormone blockers, for example, are not permanent.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hormone blockers pause puberty, “providing time to determine if a child’s gender identity is long-lasting. It also gives children and their families time to think about or plan for the psychological, medical, developmental, social and legal issues ahead.”
In other words, the treatment for transgender kids isn’t just some wild and crazy experiment that doctors are doing for kicks. This treatment has been developed by thoughtful and intelligent professionals who care about kids, unlike the people who put their names on these anti-trans bills.
An especially alarming part of the North Carolina bill says that “government and school employees, among other professionals, are mandated to report to a child’s parents in writing if their child is exhibiting any symptoms of gender dysphoria or gender nonconformity,” according to The Hill.
Got that? If your kid exhibits “gender nonconformity” then their teachers HAVE TO WRITE YOU A LETTER TO TELL YOU. They are mandated. Just like they are mandated to report suspected child abuse.
This is, clearly, nonsense. Literally no good can come from this. If a parent gets word from the school that their child has broken the sacred gender conformity pact, then maybe that parent will shrug and tell the school to go kick rocks, or maybe that parent will force their child into therapy to “cure” them.
Furthermore, what is the criteria for what counts as “gender nonconformity,” anyway? We live in a country where women were once not allowed to wear pants, FFS. Of course, I am well aware that a girl wearing baggy jeans isn’t what extremist Republicans are worried about here. They fear gender non-conformity most when it comes from someone they see as male not adhering to the strict and narrow definition of what is “manly.” Never mind that toxic masculinity hurts everyone. We have an entire political party dedicated to supporting the ugliest aspects of our culture.
This bill also bans medical professionals from providing treatment that would “facilitate a transgender person’s desire to present themselves or appear in a way that is inconsistent with their biological sex,” which includes hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery according to NBC News. If they don’t comply they could lose their licenses and face big fines.
In a statement, Campaign for Southern Equality Executive Director The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said, “Transgender youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and affirmed, not singled out and denied critical care that is backed by virtually every leading health authority.”
In other words, maybe the people making decisions about care for transgender youth are doctors and not extremist politicians who claim that government should stay out of people’s lives, but don’t seem to mind the government getting into people’s underpants?
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski