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Will Minnesota Embrace Transgender Radicalism?

The state’s proposed ‘trans refuge’ bill will create a national nightmare for kids and parents.
Sharon Supp
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Minnesota's proposed ‘trans refuge’ bill would create a national nightmare for kids and parents

The Minnesota senate is considering controversial legislation that will make Minnesota the nation’s second “trans refuge state,” a state (like California) where minor children from around the country can flee — or be taken — to obtain on-demand puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries. And all without the knowledge or consent of their parents, no matter where in the country they live. Nineteen other states are considering similar legislation.

Minnesota’s HF 146 threatens the long-term health of vulnerable children who are struggling to embrace their immutably male or female bodies. While other states, including Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Iowa, are appropriately limiting the use of “gender-imitating medical interventions” on children under 18, Minnesota is poised to completely disregard the growing body of medical evidence demonstrating that these experimental hormonal and surgical interventions cause irreparable harm to kids.

HF 146 also ignores the growing voices of courageous de-transitioners such as Chloe Cole and Prisha Mosley, who are boldly sharing their stories and shining light on the devastating consequences of attempts at gender transition. And, much like the highly politicized American Academy of Pediatrics and Endocrine Society, which promote hormones and surgeries as the only acceptable methods for addressing gender dysphoria in children, the Minnesota legislation is recklessly indifferent to the growing number of European countries (SwedenFinland, and England so far) that now recognize that “gender-affirming” protocols are simply not evidence-based.

If passed, HF 146 will also infuse chaos into America’s family-court system. It could incentivize a parent engaged in a custody dispute in his or her home state to flee with the child to Minnesota, claim that the child needs “gender transition” medical intervention, and have the Minnesota courts award full custody to the fleeing parent — even if doing so creates a conflict with a court order from the home state. Such overreach blatantly disregards the laws and jurisdiction of the 49 other states that are due deference under the full-faith-and-credit clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, Section 1). It also conflicts with the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which is the federal law governing state jurisdiction over custody matters.

And it cannot be overstated that Minnesota’s HF 146 threatens the constitutional right of parents — in every state — to direct their child’s health care. A sound law would align with the principles set forth in the “Promise to America’s Parents” and would protect the long-recognized right of parents to choose the best health care for their child. But the Minnesota bill would allow the state’s courts to unilaterally strip custody from a fit parent (inside or outside Minnesota and without due process) who has legitimate concerns about his or her child undergoing permanent interventions in an effort to address what may be temporary gender-identity confusion.

In essence, HF 146 would make Minnesota’s state law a national policy. There would be no safe state where fit parents could freely choose not to affirm their child’s subjective feelings of gender identity without fear of losing custody if their child makes his or her way to Minnesota. This legislation won’t make Minnesota a “sanctuary.” It will entice vulnerable children nationwide to leave their families and run away to Minnesota (perhaps even with the support of gender activist groups) in search of harmful drugs and destructive surgeries.

According to other Minnesota laws, a person has to be 21 to buy alcohol or tobacco products, 18 to get a tattoo, and 18 to use a tanning bed. These legislative age restrictions are reasonable in light of the scientific consensus that the brain’s frontal lobe is not fully developed until approximately age 25, and that the immature brain lacks impulse control.

Contrast those limits with the reality that HF 146 would facilitate permanent alteration to the body of a physically healthy minor, by way of dangerous, potentially sterilizing drugs for what is often a transient phase. And this when the best evidence clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of pre-pubertal children (61–98 percent) who struggle with gender confusion will outgrow it if allowed to progress through puberty without interference.

Children expressing discomfort with their bodies need the support and wisdom of their parents, who know and love them best. They also need the protection of laws that recognize their inability to give informed consent and that limit financially motivated gender clinics from pushing these highly controversial interventions, which don’t help kids but actually harm them.

Children should be affirmed in their sex and supported as they mature through puberty and other normal adolescent changes that shape their mental, physical, and reproductive development. Elective interventions on the bodies of children (including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and damaging surgeries) have not been proven safe or effective for physically healthy minors, and they should not be pushed on children or parents as the only way to respond to gender-questioning kids.

Trusted adults wouldn’t tell a drug-addicted teen that she was born a hopeless addict who has to take drugs to cope with life’s stressors. Trusted adults wouldn’t tell an anorexic adolescent that she is overweight and needs gastric bypass surgery to lose more weight. Likewise, trusted adults shouldn’t tell a gender-confused child that she was born in the wrong body and that it is possible to do the impossible: transition from one sex to the other.

As George Orwell so eloquently stated, “sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.” And today, that means reiterating that humans are created male or female, and every cell in the human body and brain reflects that reality. Genuine trustworthiness is helping children embrace their objective biology, while navigating their subjective feelings of identity and the discomfort and confusion that often come with puberty and adolescence.

Sharon Supp, Senior Research Analyst
Sharon Supp
Senior Research Analyst
Sharon Supp serves as Senior Research Analyst at Alliance Defending Freedom