David French is absolutely correct that our society is collapsing, in part, because of small acts of cowardice, following the conclusion that it’s better to keep our heads down rather than resist the non-stop, never-satisfied demands of social radicals. To play my small part in resisting that temptation, I have to take a moment to suggest that anybody who supports S2827, which is being heard in the Senate Health and Human Services committee today, is so blinkered by ideology that he or she should not be trusted with a legislator’s vote in the General Assembly, lacking any ability to consider the appropriate scope of government or the possibility of unintended consequences.
Basically, the legislation suggests that, “under no circumstances,” can a medical professional, therapist, counselor, or psychologist help a patient under the age of 18 work to change his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, at the risk of permanent loss of the professional’s license. That the legislation is intended to favor changes in one direction while restricting a return path is clear from the definitions.
By the language of the legislation, a child’s gender identity is proven by “medical history [not including the biological fact of his or her sex], care, or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.” Additionally, the forbidden “change efforts” explicitly do not include “practices to provide acceptance, support, and understanding… and the facilitation of an individual’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.” That is, professionals are clearly permitted to help children “explore” different identities in a supportive way, but if the child has been acting under an alternative identity, the therapist or doctor risks his or her license by suggesting it might not be a fit.
The imbalance goes right to the core of the legal philosophy behind the bill. It notes that “gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose” — whatever that might be — and that professionals can still help organize “interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices,” but who’s to say what’s “improper” or “unsafe”? Such determinations will be made in the radicalized halls of the bureaucracy and professional organizations. The obvious conclusion is that promoting a radical worldview is “acceptance,” while efforts to “impose change” in keeping with a different worldview are unlawful.
If the insidious intention isn’t clear, ask yourself how enthusiastically these very same legislators would, on a different topic, inveigh against anybody who attempted to put the law between a patient and his or her doctor. Yet, in this case, they’re happy to hang a Sword of Damocles over therapeutic professionals.
Suppose a ten-year-old boy or girl decides, for whatever reason, that his or her identity is, as the law puts it, “different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” After a year or so, the child has reinforced this new identity in various ways, such that changing it would be uncomfortable, yet he or she is not happy, and his or her parents believe that it isn’t a lack of acceptance of the new identity, but that the switch was in error.
This family — which had full access to professional services in order to make the change seem affirmative — will find itself on its own in reversing course, at least until the point that the eleven year old makes a sufficiently decisive declaration that the government is satisfied that his or her “core identity” is as everybody originally thought it to be. Even if a professional psychologist were to agree with the parents, any line of questioning that might seem to encourage the child toward his or her original identity would be a professional risk, especially to the degree that there’s disagreement and acrimony among those who care for the child.