Mar 2, 2023
If you are a parent, I’m sure you have had the experience of seeing your child laying on the ground crying hysterically over what appears to be nothing. “Show me where it hurts,” is often the command that most effectively breaks through the noise. Amazingly, more often than not, nothing hurts at all.
In this week’s metaphor, that child is the Indiana General Assembly. I will try to explain it through three legislative initiatives, none of which will ease this metaphoric child’s fragile soul.
The alleged problem they are trying to solve this session is a medical diagnosis called gender dysphoria. Those who have it, and are hurting because of it, are a statistically tiny percentage of young people. How tiny? Approximately 300,000 13–17-year-olds in all of America identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
But grievance-based GOP legislators and their supporters have volunteered to play the victim here. To ease its pain, they are trying to ban treating youths diagnosed with gender dysphoria entirely. Yes, all forms of youth treatment will soon be illegal. That is what Senate Bill 480 does.
Just in relation to suicide, The Trevor Project found that one in five transgender or nonbinary youth attempt suicide each year, twice the rate of cisgender youth. More than half of transgender youth consider it. These numbers don’t magically improve by banning treatment for gender dysphoria. Quite the opposite.
By contrast, having just one supportive adult, including a teacher, made LGBTQ children 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the last year, as reported by Whitney Downard of the Indiana Capital Chronicle. Remember the supportive teacher component. It will come up again.
Doctors also say the legislature is wrong on this one, claiming that the proposed ban goes “against evidence-based care.” But this legislature quit trusting doctors regarding health care long ago.
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