Conservatives use anti-trans hearing to promote conversion therapy over gender-affirming care

Author: John Russell

During a hearing this week, proponents of an Ohio anti-trans bill recommended therapy, addiction treatment, and rejection by family members as alternatives to providing gender-affirming care to transgender minors.

Introduced by Ohio state Rep. Gary Click (R), H.B. 68, known as the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, would ban trans athletes from participating in girls’ and women’s sports and ban minors from receiving gender-affirming care, while also forcing transgender young people who are already receiving such care to detransition. Every major medical organization in the U.S. has recognized that gender-affirming healthcare — which can include puberty blockers and hormone therapy — is evidence-based, safe, effective, and can be medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria in young people. H.B. 68 was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives in June.

During Tuesday’s hearing, a parade of detransitioners, representatives from anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, and what Reed describes as “fringe medical practitioners” testified in support of the bill.

Reed notes that an October report from HuffPost suggested that some of the detransition activists who spoke at the hearing have been paid for their appearances before state legislators across the country by Do No Harm, an anti-trans advocacy group funded by Hedge fund CEO and billionaire biotech investor Joseph Edelman and his wife.

Richard Anumene, another detransitioner who is suing healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente for providing him with gender-affirming care as an adult, testified that pressure from his family and economic difficulties convinced him “to return to presenting as a man.” Reed notes that Anumene’s testimony actually backs up studies indicating that the decision to detransition is more likely to be the result of familial rejection, social stigma, and employment challenges than the result of actually identifying as one’s sex assigned at birth.  

Others, like Jeanette Cooper, founder of anti-trans organization Partners for Ethical Care, promoted the tactic of parents rejecting their children to deter them from identifying as trans. Cooper suggested that gender dysphoria should be treated “like an addiction.”

“We know how to support children who identify as transgender, and it’s not affirmation,” Cooper said in her written testimony.

Matt Sharp of the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) testified that “therapy” is the best way to treat children who experience gender dysphoria. As Reed notes, ADF has aligned itself with organizations like the now-defunct Exodus International that have pushed the discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”

When asked by state Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson, the committee’s only Democrat, how he reconciles ADF’s stance on “parental rights” with the fact that H.B. 68 would take away parents’ right to make medical decisions for their children, Sharp argued that the bill does not infringe on parental rights.

Anti-trans activist Riley Gaines and former USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen provided testimony on the bill’s ban on transgender women and girls participating in women’s sports.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: John Russell

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