States working to help children gender transition without parents’ knowledge (and other stories)

More culture war news from around the interwebs.

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Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling told Good Housekeeping magazine that she’s been getting “heartbreaking letters” from people who have undergone transgender surgeries and regret it, as well as people who are afraid they’ll get fired simply for opposing the trans movement. From The Christian Post:

Over 90% of the letters she’s received have been “supportive” of her public words, she told the magazine, including letters from “medical staff, social workers, prison workers, workers in women’s refuges, and members of the LGBT community, including trans people.”

“Some of the most heartbreaking letters I’ve received have been from young women who regret the irreversible surgeries they’ve undertaken,” Rowling said. “These stories need to be told.”

She also called for people to be allowed to discuss the issue openly and said greater attention should be given to women’s concerns and how medicalized gender treatments are disproportionately harming young females. 

“I believe everybody should be free to live a life that is authentic to them, and that they should be safe to do so,” she said. “I also believe that we need a more nuanced conversation around women’s rights and around the huge increase in numbers of girls and young women who are seeking to transition.”

Rowling’s comments come amid what some say is a turning tide in the debate about transgenderism, particularly the experimental medical practices being performed on trans-identifying minors, in light of a recent court decision in the U.K.

I never thought I’d say this, but Rowling’s voice has been essential to keeping the debate on these issues alive and encouraging others to speak out.

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Meanwhile, progressives continue to work to ensure that children can embark on this dangerous path without the knowledge of their parents. Progressives believe that they care about children more than parents do, and that the state should intervene to cut the parents out whenever parental advice might differ from the desires of children. From WORLD Magazine:

Since January, children in Washington state ages 13 and up can obtain confidential treatment for mental health conditions and gender dysphoria using their parent’s insurance plan—without their parents’ consent. Now, the state is considering a bill to set up health clinics on middle and high school campuses. Parents fear these clinics will talk children into dangerous and irreversible medical treatments such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to make their bodies look more like the opposite sex.

“This bill would allow a child to make an appointment during the school day, and Mom and Dad would never know about it,” said Jennifer Heine-Withee, a mother of three who runs Washington Parents Rights in Education. In many states, including Washington, teenage girls may already leave classes to get an abortion or obtain contraceptives without their parents’ knowledge.

Exceptions to parental consent laws in some states have steadily expanded to include “gender-affirming” care. Oregon in 2015 passed a law allowing minors ages 15 and up to obtain taxpayer-funded puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex change surgeries without parental consent. California passed a similar bill for children in foster care in 2018. In March, California lawmakers introduced a separate bill, the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, that would hold health insurance companies criminally liable if they disclosed sensitive medical information to parents about their dependents, including treatment and procedures that have been done without their knowledge.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom also approved a fund in September that earmarks taxpayer money for “gender-affirming health care services” including puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for youth. Hundreds of health clinics are popping up on middle and high school campuses across the state.

In December 2019, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles announced a program to open 50 high school–based wellness centers within the next three years. These clinics do not provide surgical abortions but do offer contraceptives, including “morning after” pills, and “gender-affirming” counseling. Planned Parenthood has steadily added puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to its list of services, though obtaining them depends on state parental consent laws. Transgender people on YouTube describe how easy it is to get prescriptions from Planned Parenthood for cross-sex hormones.

“Parents are totally unaware of what is happening,” said Brenda Lebsack, a special education teacher in the Santa Ana, Calif., Unified School District and a former board member for the Orange Unified School District…In Washington, Heine-Withee said a 2019 law blindsided parents by eliminating their involvement in treatment for gender dysphoria, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health conditions and in abortion. Many parents learned about the law after receiving a notification from their health insurance carrier.

Now, as the state considers implementing school-based health clinics, Kim Wendt of Informed Parents of Washington warned it will create a funding stream between school districts and parents’ insurance companies. At a state House Education Committee hearing earlier this year, Wendt said she was “trying to get other parents to understand that they’re slowly taking away, law by law, our ability to be the parents to our children, and then just making us their personal ATMs.”

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Parents must find out what their children are being taught; what is going on at school; what speakers are showing up in the classroom; and what their children are being encouraged to do. If not, the consequences could be life-changing.

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Some of you may have read my column in The American Conservative last month on the potential for a new socially conservative/economically populist realignment for the GOP in the wake of the 2016 and 2020 elections. Charles Camosy has just published an essay over at The Public Discourse musing on what such a realignment could look like:

Another significant, interlocking cultural divide relates to religion. It is no secret that the left has been trending irreligious for several years—with “nones,” according to Gallup, forming “one of the largest religious identity groups among Democrats.” This trend also sets the party against Hispanics, blacks, and the working classes, all of whom identify as significantly more religious than college-educated whites.

For instance, Pew finds that while only 49 percent of whites say religion is “very important” to them, that number is 59 percent for Latinos and a whopping 75 percent for blacks. Pew also finds a significant disparity based on education: those with an education of “high school or less” say that religion is very important to them at rates 12 percentage points higher than do college graduates.

Camosy has a few suggestions for the GOP:

In order to reach this goal, the GOP should a become a party that has the following:

  • Support for unions, a living wage, and a right to health care
  • Skepticism of corporatism while favoring labor and (genuine) market exchanges
  • Broad and firm opposition to abortion and euthanasia—while also insisting that vulnerable women, elderly, and sick have a much stronger level of support from families and from the broader community and culture
  • Support of universally available religious education for the working classes through government vouchers
  • A broader and more confident commitment to the religious and spiritual—to seeing the world as enchanted with the active grace of God
  • Energetic support of the first and fundamental freedom to live out the religious and spiritual commitments in their lives, communities, and institutions—including protecting the consciences of health care providers, churches that protect immigrants, and the rights of parents to seek proper therapies for their gender-nonconforming children

I couldn’t agree more. And fortunately, there are a few GOP senators who have read the writing on the wall and realize that it is time to learn the right lessons from Trumpism (although there appear to be quite a few folks determined to climb on board the Hindenburg just as it bursts into flame.) Marco Rubio, for example, just published an essay on this very subject that is worth a read.

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More soon.

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