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Presley struggles to find words on sex...

Presley struggles to find words on sex change treatments for children

By: Lesley Davis - August 17, 2023

FILE - Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, speaks about the Mississippi Public Service Commission securing a $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi, a integrated energy company on June 23, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. Presley, a Democrat, said Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, that he is running for Mississippi governor. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Impact Research was in the field message testing and conducting a push poll to find out what position would be most politically expedient for Presley to assume on transgender issues in Mississippi.

Spend any time following Democratic candidate for governor Brandon Presley and it becomes apparent he’s seldom short on words. If pontificating was a 4-H event, he’d win a blue ribbon. That is, unless, the issue is whether medical providers and facilities in Mississippi should be able to provide gender transition treatments to our children. 

Lesley Davis

Presley has struggled mightily to balance between his party’s well-documented radical agenda on transgender issues and the answer he knows most Mississippi voters want to hear. He appears so befuddled by the question, in fact, that a pollster has been commissioned to help him find his voice. Talk about finger in the air politics. 

Last week, Impact Research was in the field message testing and conducting a push poll to find out what position would be most politically expedient for Presley to assume on the issue. Zac McCrary, a partner with Impact Research, has been quoted, as recently as yesterday, as a pollster for the Presley Campaign. 

McCrary’s firm boasts as clients current President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and the failed campaign of Hillary Clinton. 

Among the messages tested by Impact Research are (screenshots of online poll questions included below):

  • A message that argues that decisions about gender reassignment for minors should be left to parents and should not be restricted by the government;
  • A message that downplays the threat radical gender ideology poses to our children; and
  • A message that builds up Presley’s Christian credentials and suggests he would not work to overturn Mississippi’s recently passed REAP Act, which prevents physicians from providing gender reassignment treatments to minors;
  • A message that firmly states that Presley opposes both gender reassignment surgeries for minors and allowing transgender athletes to play sports in divisions not matching their biological sex, but which leaves wiggle room on other harmful transition treatments, such as puberty blockers.

One statement on the poll-testing menu is willing to condemn surgical interventions on minors, but carefully omitted the prescribing of puberty blocking drugs and hormone treatments with their devastating, lifelong effects.

For each message, the poll asks whether people responding believe the message and find it resonant. In other words, the survey polled a range of positions from “the government has no business intervening on behalf of minors” to “I would passively let the law stand” to affirmative opposition, with loopholes left agape, for gender reassignment surgeries. 

The disjointed tested messages match Presley’s own disjointed statements in the lead up to the poll. 

In June, he told reporters at the Mississippi Press Association that he thought the decision of whether to subject a child to gender transitioning should be left to “mamas and daddies.” The statement was widely interpreted as opposition to the recently passed REAP Act, which prevents MS providers and facilities from dispensing gender reassignment treatments to minors. 

The progressive outlet Mississippi Free Press understood the intent of Presley’s statement, reporting, “Democratic candidate for Mississippi governor Brandon Presley would not have signed legislation that outlawed gender-affirming care for transgender minors such as puberty blockers, he suggested during an appearance in Flowood, MS at the Mississippi Press Association on June 16.”

Then, a couple of days before he took the stage at the Neshoba County Fair, Presley told reporters he would not work to overturn the REAP Act – a carefully crafted statement which fell short of saying he supported the REAP Act.

Whatever way the wind ends up blowing in Presley’s poll, his party has been less bashful about taking the radical road. The position of the Mississippi Democratic Party in favor of gender transition of minors could not be more clear, as evidenced by their press release on March 2, 2023.

In contrast to Presley, Governor Reeves’ position on the issue could not be more clear. He stood with children against non-scientific medical quackery when he signed the REAP Act. Children in Mississippi struggling to identify with their biological sex, along with their parents, need compassionate, evidence-based, high-quality care. And they need their Governor to be one of “the grown-ups in the room,” not someone who is unwilling to state plainly what their convictions are or who resorts to polling to figure out what they should be. 

About the Author(s)
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Lesley Davis

Lesley A. Davis lives in Flowood, Mississippi, and is a long-time advocate for women and children, an attorney, President/CEO of Mississippi Advocacy Group, a wife, and mother of three sons.