On April 28, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R) signed into law SB 99, a bill that prohibits puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital-mutilating surgeries for minors. A similar bill was sent to the governor’s desk in Oklahoma on April 27. Both pieces of legislation passed their respective state legislatures by a wide margin, signaling the broad public support that these types of laws are receiving despite intense pressure from left-wing activists to torpedo the bills.
In Montana, in spite of the use of highly dramatic language by a transgender identifying representative that earned him a censure, and despite the necessity for police to arrest several protestors and clear the state capitol in riot gear, the state House and Senate easily sent the measure to the governor’s desk by votes of 65-33 and 31-17, respectively. In Oklahoma, where a group of around 150 pro-trans protestors descended on the state capitol in early February to denounce an early version of the bill, the state senate easily passed SB 613 last Thursday by a vote of 38-8. The bill now goes to Governor Kevin Stitt’s (R) desk, who is expected to sign it.
The large margin by which both measures passed appears to be a reflection of widespread societal consensus that minors are not capable of adequately considering the ramifications of life-altering hormonal and surgical procedures that are often irreversible. Recent polling on this issue shows that nearly 80% of Americans agree that children should not be allowed to undergo transgender procedures.
Montana and Oklahoma will join 13 other states that have passed similar legislation that gives minors some level of protection from gender transition procedures in the last two years. They include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
The growing cultural agreement on the issue is reaching unexpected quarters. On Sunday, Paul Stanley, a member of the rock group KISS, tweeted in part: “There is a BIG difference between teaching acceptance and normalizing and even encouraging participation in a lifestyle that confuses young children into questioning their sexual identification as though [it’s] some sort of game and then parents in some case allow it. … With many children who have no real sense of sexuality or sexual experiences caught up in the ‘fun’ of using pronouns and saying what they identify as, some adults mistakenly confuse teaching acceptance with normalizing and encouraging a situation that has been a struggle for those truly affected and have turned it into a sad and dangerous fad.”
In addition, Bill Maher, a liberal comedian and host of HBO’s “Real Time,” has also recently expressed misgivings about the growing trend among minors to identify as the opposite sex, pointing to “social contagion” as a phenomenon that proves that transgender identities do not develop as organically as activists say they do: “[I]t is also somewhat trendy — I know people hate to hear that, but it’s obviously true — there is an element of social contagion, or else it wouldn’t be so prevalent in here [California] and not in Indiana, it wouldn’t be regional.”
Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council, was encouraged by the wide margins with which the Montana and Oklahoma bills passed, along with other cultural indicators of a growing accord on the issue.
“Common sense is prevailing in the midst of a media narrative that is saying the opposite of what most people can readily see,” she told The Washington Stand. “They don’t need scientific studies that have been distorted for the purposes of the medical and research elite. It’s very encouraging to see. When people are actually exposed to what’s happening, they come out in force and reject such atrocities happening to children.”
Bauwens, a clinical psychologist who has provided trauma-focused treatment to children, went on to point out the lack of evidence-based proof in the transgender activists’ arguments in favor of transgender procedures for minors.
“I think it’s interesting that the arguments from the other side are basically coming down to attacking those who are bringing out the common sense but also bringing out the research and showing how bad it is,” she noted. “And those who are practitioners of some sort, whether they’re doctors or mental health professionals, are coming out and saying, ‘This isn’t okay.’ So, the proponents are basically bringing personal attacks because they have no other argument. Because if you have great science, then why not argue from that standpoint? But instead, all they can do is say the same thing over and over again, which is, ‘If they’re not given this surgery, they’re going to commit suicide’ or ‘This is lifesaving care’ or ‘You have blood on your hands’ — all of these poor arguments and personal attacks.”
Bauwens concluded by providing an analogy between gender transition procedures and plastic surgery.
“There [are] permissions for someone to get plastic surgery before 18,” she explained. “There are safeguards about how someone is treated after surgery, and preparing them for that, and possible depression and disappointment that might come because that plastic surgery didn’t achieve the results they hoped it would. But we don’t have that over these transgender procedures. Where is the advocacy for people who have body dysmorphia — those who have a fixation about a finger that bothers them and they want to get surgery and remove that finger? Where are the advocates that say we should pay for all fingers to be removed? It just tells you how much this is not about science. They’ve made it a civil rights issue. They’re not even looking at the effects that [gender transition procedures] have. To them, it’s an identity, and they classify it on par with race.”