Today in Pierre, S.D., lawmakers are holding the very first state hearing on whether to ban surgical and chemical sex-change treatments for minors. The Vulnerable Child Protection Act would prohibit medical sex-change treatments for children under the age of 16 and make those directly involved guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. It would not prevent children from being socially transitioned.
In his introductory remarks, Representative Fred Deutsch of South Dakota’s fourth district, who is sponsoring the bill, emphasized that there was “no contradiction” between his respect for transgender adults and his conviction that irreversible and experimental surgical and chemical interference with a child’s sexual development (on account of his or her confusion about identity) is morally indefensible. Indeed, the “compelling testimony” was from victims, doctors, a progressive feminist who has worked as an attorney for the ACLU, a transgender adult, and a former transgender teen.
One parent, representing the Kelsey Coalition, a national group of parents whose children identify as transgender, said:
What happens when other factors are overlooked in a rush to hormones and surgery? What if there is other trauma, other pain, behind these youthful feelings and troubles? Can’t we heal the hurts without cutting the body? And once we have cut that beautiful body, when the voice is permanently broken, the beard is there for good, the breasts are gone, what happens if the body was never wrong to start with? What will you tell the daughters that realize, too late, that they have destroyed their ability to bear children, or to nurse them? When they find that their wounds had other causes, other origins, and required other treatments? I plead with you to hear the parents, and the many stories of young people who have changed their minds after medical transition. This is not healthcare, this is a medical experiment. This is not lifesaving care, these are criminal actions. And they must be stopped. Please vote yes on HB 1057. Thank you.
Make no mistake, the resistance to the medicalization of gender-confused children is being led by those who have been harmed. As the diverse nature of the witnesses in South Dakota demonstrates, this is not a partisan but a victim-led movement.