Michigan is the latest state seeking to criminalize gender-affirming care for young people.
State Rep. Ryan Berman, the same legislator seeking to ban drag shows in schools — not that any Michigan school has been known to host a drag show — introduced a bill Tuesday under which parents and guardians would be charged with felony child abuse if they allow their children to undergo gender-confirmation procedures. Medical professionals who provide the care would be charged as well. Conviction would come with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The legislation, House Bill 6454, was introduced on National Coming Out Day. Berman, a Republican, was joined by four lead cosponsors, also Republicans: Beau LaFave, Steve Carra, Steve Marino, and Luke Meerman.
“People are abusing these children,” LaFave told The Hill. “The idea that we would be making potentially life-altering changes to 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kids when it is illegal for them to have sex is insane. I mean, they’re not responsible enough to smoke a cigarette until they’re 21.”
Care given to transgender youth usually consists of puberty blockers and hormones; the effects of puberty blockers are entirely reversible, as are most of the effects of hormones. Genital surgery is almost never performed on minors, but some undergo top surgery. And such care is never undertaken without extensive consultation.
Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott spoke out against the bill in an action alert, PrideSource reports. “Gender affirming care is medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender youth,” Knott wrote. “Medical decisions belong to trans youth, their parents, and their doctors.”
Both the Michigan House and Senate have Republican majorities, which means the bill could pass, although Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, would undoubtedly veto it, PrideSource notes. However, if Whitmer loses her reelection bid in November to anti-LGBTQ+ Republican Tudor Dixon and such legislation comes up in the next session, there’s a good chance it would become law.
Whitmer and Dixon debated Thursday night, and Dixon infused the event with homophobic and transphobic rhetoric. Dixon claimed Whitmer “hasn’t stood for parents” and is “putting little boys in your daughters’ locker room,” and that parents are asking, “Why do we have adults whispering sex and gender into the ears of our little kids?”
All these assertions are false, the Human Rights Campaign points out. “At a press conference last month, Dixon was unable to identify one instance of the ‘radical sex and gender theory’ she claims is being taught in schools,” according to an HRC press release. “Rhetoric like Dixon’s has deadly, real-world consequences, as nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias.” Whitmer has also voiced support for parents’ right to have input into their children’s education, contrary to Dixon’s statement.
If the Michigan bill were to pass, it would be the second state to criminalize the provision of gender-affirming care. A law enacted in Alabama criminalizes medical professionals who provide such care, although not parents and guardians. Most aspects of the law are now on hold while a court case against it is heard.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that parents who allow their children to receive gender-affirming care be investigated for child abuse. Most of these investigations are on hold now as well, also due to a court case.
Arkansas has banned gender-confirming care for minors, a law that is likewise not being enforced while a lawsuit proceeds. It calls for professional discipline rather than criminal penalties for doctors and others who provide this care. Arizona has a ban on genital and top surgery for minors, for which medical professionals can be sued, and the state’s attorney general has the right to bring action against them too.
Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, known for her anti-LGBTQ+ statements and embrace of conspiracy theories, has introduced legislation seeking to criminalize the provision of gender-affirming care for minors nationwide.
Berman sought the Republican nomination for Michigan attorney general but lost to Matthew DePerno. DePerno is under investigation for conspiracy to change Michigan’s vote count in the 2020 presidential election. He is also virulently anti-LGBTQ+, having used the “groomer” slur against the current AG, lesbian Dana Nessel, the Democrat he’s trying to unseat.
Read the full article here