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Senate Study Bill 1197 passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee so it is now eligible for consideration by the full Senate. SSB 1197 prohibits gender transition (“sex change”) procedures on children under the age of 18. It is a common-sense piece of legislation that would make it illegal to perform irreversible operations that attempt to change children’s biological sex.  It also stops the use of life-altering drugs to delay physical maturation or begin a supposed transition to the opposite sex.

Study after study demonstrate the profound physical harm these drugs can have on children, including substantially higher risks of stroke, cancer, and infertility. Furthermore, state law prohibits minors from voting, getting a tattoo, buying cigarettes or alcohol, and many other activities. If they cannot get a tattoo, they should not be having life-altering surgeries or treatments in an attempt to bring their healthy bodies into alignment with their feelings … feelings that will probably change with time.

Kids who identify as transgender are worthy of respect, understanding, justice, and protection. Regardless of whether we agree with their self-perception or not, we understand that they are valuable members of our communities, of our schools, and of our families. They have the right to be protected against bullying.  Bullying is an age-old problem but it’s wrong in every way, and school administrators and conscientious classmates should do all they can to prevent it. It makes it even worse when young people who are alienated from their own bodies and frustrated with culturally-constructed gender norms are bullied. Perhaps even more than the average student, they need sympathy and support—in a loving and truthful way.

No child in Iowa deserves to be treated with anything other than respect. However, this does not mean that adults must affirm everything that a child believes. That is putting too much responsibility on the shoulders of children and is irresponsible on the part of adults. SSB 1197 is one way we can restore a more healthy and appropriate balance.

Author: Jeff Taylor


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