|Cezar McKnight (top photo) and Chris Wooten (bottom photo) are two SC legislators who supporting bills which would negatively target transgender youth.|
Recent comments by SC state legislators supporting bills which would target transgender children underscored just how much neither legislator know about transgender health care.
South Carolina is one of many states across America which are either attempting to ban transgender youth from competing in athletics or making it against the law to provide them with adequate health care (such as providing them with puberty blockers). The proponents of these bills claim that they are necessary to keep female athletes from being cheated out of victories and to also keep children safe from making supposed "life altering" decisions.
What's happening here has to do with bad assumptions exploited by outside parties whose brand is to undermine LGBTQ rights and safety wherever they find it. When it comes to athletics, there is no proof that transgender female athletes have an advantage over cis female athletes. With regards to denying trans children adequate healthcare, the assumptions are even more insidiously inaccurate.
The supporters of these particular bills seem to be motivated by the belief (no doubt spurred on by outside parties) that trans children are having physically altering surgeries or being fed a host of dangerous drugs which will have negative repercussions on their physical and mental health. This belief was echoed by two SC legislators in interviews to a local news station :
“To be making a decision like that with lifelong consequences between the ages of say 12 and 18 is just something I don’t think is prudent,” said Rep Cezar McKnight, D-Kingstree. “I don’t care what adults do as long as it’s not harming someone else.”
His colleagues said all these bills together aren’t targeting anyone as some critics say it is.
“If you ask for something and get a reply it’s called an answer not a target,” said Rep. Chris Wooten, R-Lexington. “We wouldn’t be having this issue if someone had not asked to be involved as a male in women’s sports or a transgender in sports. We wouldn’t be having these conversations if people weren’t getting surgery before the age of 18.”
But this belief is simply not true. A June 28, 2018 article from Live Science
online magazine featured several pediatricians who provided care for trans children. They said the following:
A lot of scaremongering about health care for trans kids falsely suggests that doctors push kids into making permanent changes to their bodies. Every pediatrician who spoke with Live Science for this story emphasized that this isn't true and that they don't know of any doctors who would do that.
Kids who haven't yet reached the stage of puberty in which physical changes begin don't receive medication of any kind, ( Dr. Andrew) Cronyn said.
For kids who want them, those treatments don't begin until puberty begins in earnest. And the first stage of treatment isn't hormones. Instead, doctors prescribe kids puberty blockers, which can safely put those changes on "pause." That's the standard of care endorsed by both the Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES) and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). (A representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics told Live Science that it has an official policy statement on the subject in the works, which it will publish later this year.)
There is some limited evidence that puberty blockers can impact height and bone density, but Cronyn said those risks are low enough that he's never encountered issues in his practice. More recent research has cast doubt on the idea of bone density issues.
And with regards to puberty blockers, studies
have shown that their usage have a positive effect on the mental health of trans children. Also, according to the Mayo Clinic
, they simply pause puberty but have no long term effect on a trans child.
The real danger of these bills have nothing to do with nonexistent surgeries or the false dangers of puberty blockers. They have nothing to do with athletics, either.
Transgender children are at risk
for depression and suicide at a high rate,
but it has nothing to do with who they are. It has everything to do with the messages they are receiving. And the messages these bills are sending them are harmful ones. These bills make transgender children feel as if they are targets. They are telling these children that they are unloved and unwanted.
Is that what you want, Reps McKnight and Wooten?