Over the past few years, many extreme social beliefs have become mainstream on the political Left, such as the beliefs that an individual becomes a certain gender when he or she decides to identify as such and that children should be able to receive puberty-blocking pharmaceuticals to prepare them for sex-change surgery.
These beliefs are no longer at the fringe of liberal ideology. The House of Representatives wants to enshrine these ideas and all that they entail into law through the so-called Equality Act.
These are radical changes with radical consequences. Under the Equality Act, if you identify as a different sex than the one you were born, individuals and organizations must treat you as your preferred gender or run afoul of the law.
I’m against discrimination, and that includes discrimination against those of us who hold traditional views about marriage and accept the reality of biological sex.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Biden, and the rest of the gender extremists don’t agree that people should have the right to oppose this radical social upheaval. The purpose of the Equality Act is not to prevent discrimination; it’s to codify it into law.
Although this bill is being sold in Congress and by the media as simply giving gender identity a protected status under the Civil Rights Act, the reality is far broader and more extreme. The Equality Act expands the definition of sex in the eyes of the law to include gender identity, defined as “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual” regardless of the person’s sex at birth.
What this means in practice is doctors would be forced by law to perform sex-change operations regardless of personal or religious objections, and employers would be required to offer healthcare coverage for these elective procedures.
Most alarming are the consequences this bill will have for children. Schools would be forced to allow biologically male students to compete against girls in sports, entirely destroying the idea of women’s sports and robbing young women of athletic scholarships. Barring a biologically male student from entering a girls locker room or bathroom would become discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
These changes are already heading to our schools without the Equality Act. Biden last week signed an executive order directing the secretary of education to update agency rules to include gender identity protections as part of his agenda to allow students access to “sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.”
The Equality Act will also have grim repercussions for children who believe they are suffering from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is the term mental health professionals use to describe when people feel they are a different sex than the one they were assigned at birth. The vast majority of children who claim to be experiencing gender dysphoria will no longer feel that way after puberty without medical or social intervention (as high as 94% in one study), but that makes no difference. Children should not be given puberty-blocking hormones that will harm their development and fertility for life under any circumstances. This is not healthcare. It’s insanity.
We should all strive to help these children with counseling and intervention by mental health professionals rather than further damaging their mental health through hormone therapies and causing irreversible harm to their bodies through sex-change surgeries to appease social revolutionaries. The high risk of suicide among these young people should be a call for more proactive mental health intervention, not to use them as test subjects in medical and social experiments.
In 2018, a family in Ohio sought to treat their daughter’s gender dysphoria through counseling rather than testosterone treatments. The parents’ attorney argued the child was not able to make such a decision; the prosecutor argued the parents were motivated by religious beliefs. Ultimately, the judge took away the parents’ custody. Consider how many such cases we will have if gender identity becomes a protected category under federal law.
It is not just the far-left House of Representatives pushing this radical gender agenda. Through executive orders and his Cabinet nominees, Biden has built an administration far more radical on social issues than former President Barack Obama’s. Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary for health, Dr. Rachel Levine, holds the extreme view that minor children should receive sex-change operations, breast amputations, and puberty-blocking hormones. In a Senate confirmation hearing two weeks ago, Levine refused to say if the government should be able to override parents to carry out these dangerous, harmful interventions.
The first question Sen. Rand Paul asked was perhaps the easiest question ever dodged in a Senate confirmation hearing: “Do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” Most issues being debated in Washington are not black and white. This one is.
Biological sex is real, biological boys should not be competing against girls in sports, and minors should never receive puberty-blocking medications or sex-change operations. Many Republicans may be bullied into softening their stance on these issues. I won’t be.
Mike Braun, a Republican, is Indiana's junior U.S. senator.