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Mississippi can protect children by...

Mississippi can protect children by standing for truth

By: Matt Sharp - February 8, 2023

The Do No Harm rally on January 24, 2023 backing the REAP Act.

Denying the truth that we are either male or female hurts real people, especially vulnerable children.

Protecting the health and safety of Mississippians is one of the most important responsibilities given to the state’s lawmakers. This responsibility is even more significant when it comes to protecting vulnerable children.

Our laws have long protected children from things and experiences that society concludes are harmful or that a child lacks the maturity and experience to handle. States across the country, including Mississippi, frequently regulate the participation of children in particular activities, like signing a contract, voting, getting a tattoo, or even using a tanning bed.

Matt Sharp

Science and common sense tell us that children are not mature enough to properly evaluate the serious, lifelong ramifications when making certain decisions. And the decision to undergo dangerous, experimental, and likely sterilizing gender transition procedures is no exception.

That’s why a group of Mississippi lawmakers introduced the Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures Act, which would protect children by ensuring they are not forced into harmful and unnecessary medical procedures.

In other words, these lawmakers are fulfilling their duty to protect the citizens they represent.

Children who experience discomfort with their sex deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and need compassionate, effective mental health care. Instead, radical activists seek them out to push these vulnerable minors toward “gender clinics” that deceive them into believing that unnatural, life-altering puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries are the solution to their struggle.

We must be clear: The procedures foisted on our children are often irreversible. They prevent healthy puberty, radically alter the child’s hormonal balance, and may even remove healthy external or internal organs and body parts. And not only are such drugs and procedures dangerous, they are also experimental and unproven when it comes to actually helping these children. In fact, multiple long-term studies show that when young children who experience gender dysphoria are allowed to mature naturally, most of them—over 90% according to some sources—grow out of their dysphoria.

And that is why several other nations, including some that pioneered these medical transitions, are reversing course. England, Sweden, Finland, France, Australia, and New Zealand are just a few of the countries that are curtailing the use of puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries on children with gender dysphoria.

Instead, they are putting psychological treatment and counseling at the forefront of caring for these youth, who frequently suffer other psychiatric conditions.

We are also hearing from a growing movement of “detransitioners” who have come to realize— after undergoing hormone treatments or surgeries—that they were lied to, that their medical transition was a devastating mistake, and that their true “gender identity” is aligned with their sex. Many of them are now bravely speaking out about the damage caused by being rushed into these drugs and procedures without an understanding of the consequences.

Again—these young children are unable to consent to getting a tattoo or buying a cigarette, so how can any child consent to far more dangerous and experimental—irreversible—medical procedures that can leave them scarred, infertile, and subject to tragically higher rates of suicide?

Sadly, proponents of these procedures aren’t relying on common sense or biological reality. And our children are bearing the brunt of the harm.

Denying the truth that we are either male or female hurts real people, especially vulnerable children. States should have laws, like the one currently before the Mississippi Legislature, that protect children from such dangerous “treatments.”

Don’t let the fearmongering from opponents of this legislation fool you: The direct impact of this bill will be to further the health and safety of Mississippi’s children.

That is why Mississippi should act to protect children and parents from being pressured by ideologically and financially motivated activists and gender clinics into agreeing to these harmful, experimental procedures.

About the Author(s)
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Matt Sharp

Matt Sharp is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) and director of its Center for Legislative Advocacy.