Trans Activists, Anti-Child Castration Groups Draw Battle Lines Around Definition Of ‘Child Abuse’

Trans Activists, Anti-Child Castration Groups Draw Battle Lines Around Definition Of ‘Child Abuse’
Anatomically correct Transgender Doll. Image via ClashDaily

By Sarah Weaver

A new battle line has emerged between transgender activists and those who oppose sex change procedures for minors. The winner will get to decide what constitutes “child abuse.”

Should the term become codified according to either side’s definitions, doctors could end up in jail and kids from parents on either side could end up in state care, some experts tell the Daily Caller.

Transgender activists argue that without medical intervention to change a child’s sex, or at least delay their puberty, gender dysphoric children could commit suicide. Advocates on the other side of the issue argue that children do not have the mental maturity to make the decision to change their sex, citing medical research indicating that such procedures are irreversible and do not have the mental health benefits some activists claim they have. (RELATED: Texas Children’s Hospital CEO Announces ‘Heart-Wrenching’ Plans To Discontinue Child Sex-Change Program)

The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth issued recommendations to the state government in May which include classifying a parent’s refusal to provide sex changes to their children as child abuse. In the same month, Texas launched an investigation into a children’s hospital in the state for what the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services considers “child abuse” for allegedly providing sex change procedures to minors.

“With the significant rise in transphobia across the state, the Commission has serious concerns about the wellbeing of trans and gender expansive youth in the home, and advises that the state examine current laws around child abuse and welfare to ensure the unique situations faced by LGBTQ Youth are being addressed,” the commission’s guidelines argued.

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz weighed in on the debate over transgender-identified minors, arguing in April that sex change operations for kids are “child abuse.” Cruz made the comments after Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin was also placed under investigation for allegedly performing sex changes on children as young as eight and nine-years-old.

“I think it’s totally wrong to be charging parents with child abuse,” psychotherapist Dr. Joseph Burgo told the Daily Caller. “If they transition their children because they’re just following medical advice, I think that any parent is going to turn to the experts and ask for guidance when they’re frightened and confused. That just feels cruel and partisan in the worst way to go after the parents.”

“The medical doctors are different, the medical authorities are a different matter,” Burgo continued. “I’m totally in favor of criminalizing pediatric gender medicine because these doctors ought to know better.”

A growing number of individuals who transitioned as children are warning of the dangers of providing sex change procedure to children. These “detransitioners” argue that the medical professionals who treated them did not sufficiently evaluate them for co-morbidities which may have led to their feelings of gender incongruence. (RELATED: Damaged: The Transing of America’s Kids)

Parental rights advocates have highlighted the ways in which removing children from “non-affirming” parental involvement can open kids up to predatory behavior and abuse. Virginia Democrats voted down a bill in February which would ban teachers from keeping a child’s gender transition from parents. The bill was named after Sage, a teen girl in the state who was raped and sex-trafficked after a school kept her gender identity from her parents.

“No one told me but boys followed her, touched her, threatened violence and rape,” her mother testified in the Virginia legislature earlier in the year. “Something happened in the boy’s bathroom but for two days the school told me nothing. They kept meeting with Sage alone and she became so distraught they called me to pick her up.”

Sage was kept from her parents because the school — and later a judge — decided her parents were not going to affirm their daughter’s new identity as a boy and that the child was then in grave danger of suffering abuse at their hands, her mother Michele testified.

Michele said she fought for custody of their daughter in court after they discovered she was being sex-trafficked in Maryland. She said the case against them rested on the assumption that they were abusers for not affirming Sage’s new male identity.

Laura Hanford, a parental rights advocate who was deeply involved in campaigning for “Sage’s Law” in Virginia, told the Daily Caller Sage’s case was a “textbook example” of the results of framing “non-affirming” parents as abusers.

“Teachers were brought in by the court that was trying to prove abuse, on their scant acquaintance with her, much less any conversations with their parents at all, and they’re in there testifying that she was being abused,” Hanford said.

The bill clarified the definition of child abuse to avoid further circumstances in which parents were painted as abusers if they indicated they may not fully affirm a child’s transgender identity. The legislation stipulates “misgendering” is not child abuse.

“And then of course, all of that [Sage being kept from her parents] led to her actually falling in the hands of traffickers.” (RELATED: ‘I Wish They Had Been More Understanding’: Detransitioner Says Adults Told Him His Family Was ‘Enemy Number One’)

While Sage’s Law was considered in the Virginia legislature, Democrat Delegate Danice A. Roem, a vocal opponent of the bill, argued kids would be “beaten for being outed against their own will” in their homes if teachers let parents know of a child’s transgender identity.

“Ironically, what these groups like the Massachusetts [LGBT Commission] … promote is the very thing it’s claiming to protect from, because these kids get lured away and then they are in unsafe situations and then it just goes downhill from there,” Hanford continued.

Burgo said the strategy of advocate on both sides using the term “child abuse” to describe the other side’s position won’t have “staying power.”

“I think what’s going to happen is that more and more evidence will come forward about the harms associated with pediatric gender medicine, and that’s what will change the debate. I don’t think these accusations of child abuse on both sides do anything other than mobilize the base.”


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