For decades, it was illegal for someone to buy cigarettes until the age of 18. Many states (including Arkansas) have passed legislation to make it illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. A teenager cannot walk into the supermarket or drug store and legally purchase cold medicine. The age of consent in Arkansas is 18 years old. So why should anyone under the age of 18 be permitted to take hormones to radically alter their body chemistry or (even worse) have their genitals surgically mutilated?
When Asa Hutchinson vetoed the prohibition on “gender affirming” medical quackery, he claimed it was about limited government. It is not. Government has always had an interest in protecting children from predators. Parental rights are not unlimited, even in the medical field. Parents can be prosecuted and punished for munchausen by proxy, where someone intentionally makes a child sick for attention and sympathy. There have been cases where a child has been apparently pushed into transgenderism by a “parent.”
Despite claims from the New York Times, this legislation does not restrict anyone’s “participation in society.” Once someone is an adult, they are free to pursue whatever hormone therapy or surgical mutilation they want. (Of course, they will still not be allowed to purchase alcohol or tobacco until they are 21 years old.) This dishonest hyperbole does not help anyone, and makes things much worse.
One “argument” we should categorically reject is the claim that this legislation “kills” trans teens or will cause more suicides. This is not a legitimate argument: It is emotional blackmail. This is the same tactic that abusive men use to keep women in toxic relationships. The same people who support the “Me Too” movement to oppose sexual assault use the same tactics that abusers and predators use. It is appalling hypocrisy.
Obviously, “transgender” children and teens should be given counseling, love and support. They should be protected from abuse. But that is the entire point: Radically altering a teenager’s body chemistry is abuse. Many teens will grow out of transgender identity. That makes it even more imperative for radical medical “care” to wait until they are adults. Everyone knows that teenagers have bad judgment and that their brains are not fully developed. The harm in rushing forward can be severe.
There is something else going on here too, and it is not just about treating a mental disorder. This is about erasing sex distinctions and rebellion against the world as God made it. Some extremists are exploiting vulnerable children and teens to advance that radical agenda. We should not be so blind as to ignore that this is as much of a spiritual war as it is a political, medical and scientific debate.
Transgender people do and should have the right to vote, free speech, and due process. Violent crimes against transgenders should be punished as harshly as legally possible, including the death penalty in the case of murder. They do not have the right to force anyone else to deny basic biological facts. Adults certainly do not have the right to encourage psychological delusions in children. The best therapy is to try to make them comfortable with their bodies. At the very least, we should not be making life-altering decisions on people who cannot even buy NyQuill yet, until they can make that decision as consenting adults.