House of Representatives debate on trans healthcare descends into pure transphobia

Republicans in the House of Representatives have been criticised for making anti-trans comments during a debate on gender-affirming care.

New York representative Jerrold Nadler said that the debate on Thursday (27 July) had descended into a platform for politicians to bully transgender youngsters, after several remarks were made opposing trans healthcare. 

Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee’s sub-committee on the constitution and limited government spoke about “the dangers and due-process violations of gender-affirming care for children”, with several branding the medical care dangerous, Advocate reported.

Their comments came despite numerous studies proving that gender-affirming care can actually improve the mental health of trans teenagers.

“No parent has a constitutional right to injure their children,” representative Mike Johnson, from Louisiana, said during the hearing, describing trans healthcare as “barbarism”.

He added: “The modern left applauds men competing in women’s college athletics. We see universities captured by academics advancing this ideology on students across our country.

“It’s an aggressive attempt to transition the young people of our country. They’re doing this psychologically, and now they’re doing it even physically. Something has gone terribly wrong.”

Despite the fact that every credible medical organization calls for affirming care for transgender and non-binary people — extremist leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are weaponizing our legislative process to spread anti-trans disinformation and promote cruelty.

— Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (@RepMGS) July 27, 2023

Republicans called four witnesses, including a director from the right-wing evangelical group, Family Research Council, who criticised gender-affirming care.

Texas representative Wesley Hunt compared gender-affirming care to a child being able to eat ice cream for every meal, claiming trans children are too young to be able to make decisions about their own bodies

“If my children had their way, they would have ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and for every meal in between. Oh, the wisdom of children,” he said.

“But in a sane country, we know that children aren’t mature enough to make adult decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. That’s why we have parents.”

He added that doctors who support gender-affirming care have “absolutely lost their minds”, comparing it to “child mutilation”. 

Today’s Judiciary Committee hearing was nothing more than a taxpayer funded platform for House Republicans to bully transgender kids, who are already some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 27, 2023

Democrat Nadler voiced his disgust at the anti-trans remarks, which he described as bullying. 

“What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a taxpayer-funded platform for congressional Republicans to bully transgender kids who are already some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Things are already tough enough for these kids and their parents,” he said.

“I trust parents and medical professionals, not politicians, to make decisions about their children’s health when it comes to gender-affirming care, and so does the constitution.”

Fellow Democrat, Pennsylvania congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, added that the hearing was “not about protecting children’s or parents’ rights”, but instead had devolved into a “cynical and dangerous political attack on transgender children and their families”. 

Several states across the US have attempted to ban or limit gender-affirming care for young trans people, with the Human Rights Campaign tracking 132 bans introduced across the country so far this year.

The organisation claimed that 19 bans have become law in states including Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and Florida. 

Several states have seen legislation overturned, however, with judges rejecting bans in Indiana and Arkansas, and an extreme bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for adults and young people was struck down in Missouri

The World Health Organization has previously spoken about the importance of adequate gender-affirming care provision, urging countries to “remove structural barriers” to trans people’s healthcare.

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