Category archives: Human Sexuality

Amidst a Global Pandemic, California Legislators Seek $15 Million for Transgender Hormone Therapy and Dance Classes

by Peter Sprigg

May 13, 2020

Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, submitted the following letter on May 12, 2020, to the California Legislature in opposition to AB 2218, the “Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund.”

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Dear California Legislators:

I am writing to urge that you oppose Assembly Bill 2218, which would establish a “Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund” with an appropriation of $15 million. I am writing on behalf of Family Research Council (FRC), a national non-profit public policy organization representing tens of thousands of Californians, and whose issue portfolio includes human sexuality.

In particular, we believe that it is inappropriate to provide taxpayer dollars

to a hospital, health care clinic, or other medical provider that currently provides gender-affirming health care services, such as hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery, to continue providing those services, or to a hospital, health care clinic, or other medical provider that will establish a program that offers gender-affirming health care services . . .

No “hormone therapy” (neither puberty-blocking hormones nor cross-sex hormones) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purposes of facilitating gender transition. Fenway Health, which serves the LGBT community in Boston, writes that “no medications or other treatments are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purposes of gender alteration and affirmation.” A 2018 article in the journal Transgender Health reiterated that “there are no medications or other treatments that are FDA-approved for the purpose of gender affirmation.” And the American Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health reported that “steroidal hormones,” “GnRH analogs” (puberty blockers) and “antiandrogens” are all used “off-label” for “gender re-affirming therapy”—because their use “lacks scientific evidence.” While it is not illegal to use drugs “off-label” in certain instances, the lack of proof that using these hormones for gender transition is safe and effective is a strong argument against the state funding these largely experimental treatments.

Similarly, evidence does not support the assertion that gender reassignment surgery is “medically necessary.” In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) declined to issue a new “national coverage determination” (NCD) that would mandate coverage for such surgery under Medicare, declaring that “there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes.” CMS examined 33 studies, but found that all had “potential methodological flaws,” and that “[o]verall, the quality and strength of evidence were low.”

Even the evidence that is available does not demonstrate that gender reassignment surgery is effective at achieving its fundamental goal—improving the long-term mental health of individuals. Patients in the best studies “did not demonstrate clinically significant changes” after surgery. One of the strongest studies, out of Sweden, showed a suicide rate among post-surgical transgender patients that was 19 times that of the general population.

In addition to directly funding procedures of questionable medical value (as well as “guided meditation” and “dancing, painting, and writing classes”), this bill would also fund programming that essentially amounts to ideological indoctrination, in the form of “trans-inclusive best practices” and the creation of “educational materials” and “capacity building training.”

It also seems ironic that the sponsors of this legislation, who I presume would support laws to prohibit “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity,” are actually mandating such discrimination by giving favored treatment to organizations that meet a numerical quota of officers, board members, or a fiscal sponsor who themselves “identify as TGI” (“transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex”).

Finally, it seems inconceivable that during a crisis caused by a global pandemic, with tax revenues shrinking and emergency expenditures rising, the California Legislature would even consider investing time or money in a program that would have to be considered a luxury even in normal times, and even if it were worthwhile (which, for the reasons cited above, I believe it is not). When, at this writing, nearly 70,000 Californians have become infected with the novel coronavirus and nearly 2,800 have lost their lives, it would reflect misplaced priorities to be appropriating money to support the programs listed above.

I urge you to oppose AB 2218.

Sincerely,

Peter Sprigg
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Family Research Council
Washington, D.C.

Idaho Leads the Way in Pursuing Fairness for Women Athletes

by Blake Elliott

April 29, 2020

Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) has recently come under fire for signing the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. This common-sense law makes Idaho the first state to protect female athletes’ opportunities to compete (including for scholarships) without going head to head with male athletes who identify as female but retain immense physical advantages. Now, the ACLU is suing to block the law and undermine women’s sports.

In Connecticut, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing three high school women facing precisely this problem, after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference changed its policies to allow men who identify as women to compete in women’s sports. As ADF legal counsel Christiana Holcomb notes, “Title IX was designed to eliminate discrimination against women in education and athletics, and women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides. Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law. We shouldn’t force these young women to be spectators in their own sports.”

It’s not just athletic scholarships that are at stake. Sports play a crucial role in the development of young people by helping them build character, learn the value of hard work, and learn how to compete. Sports can bring people together and give a student-athlete the opportunity to be part of something bigger than him or herself.

I grew up in West Texas, and it was common for the whole region to rally in support of high school teams that were excelling. I see it now when 100,000-plus Aggie fans pack into Kyle Field to support Texas A&M football. During these times, peoples’ stances on politics or social issues are put to the side as fans unite to support their team. Sports can help develop life-long friendships and memories.

But in recent times, men who identify as transgender women have begun to dominate women’s sports, both at the amateur and professional levels. According to expert testimony filed with the Connecticut athletic complaint, “…the lifetime best performances of three female Olympic champions in the 400m event—including Team USA’s Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix—would not match the performances of literally thousands of boys and men, just in 2017 alone, including many who would not be considered top tier male performers.” Dr. Gregory Brown of the University of Nebraska, who provided that expert testimony, has also found that puberty in males creates for a height and body mass difference that gives a significant athletic advantage to males.

Chelsea Mitchell, one of the three Connecticut athletes who filed the ADF complaint, summed it up well by saying that the three athletes are simply asking for a fair chance. It is clear that they’re not getting it: Terry Miller and Adraya Yearwood, the two biologically male athletes at the heart of the lawsuit, have won 15 girls indoor and outdoor state championships since 2017. Just last February, they finished 1st and 2nd in the 55-meter state championship, with Miller breaking the state record. Miller has also set record-breaking times in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, typically blowing other sprinters completely out of the race.

Karissa Niehoff, the executive director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, spoke about the issues surrounding transgender athletes running with girls by saying, “A lot of people have asked, can you run a separate race, can you put an asterisk next to their name, do something that shows there is a standard that is different from that?” One sports league is trying just that: The Raw Powerlifting Federation is now in the process of creating a transgender division after Mary Gregory, who is a biological male, shattered various women’s weightlifting records. The federation’s president stripped Gregory of the titles and records after “it was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a transgender female.” When this story broke, former Great Britain Olympic swimmer Sharon Davies spoke out, tweeting: “This is a trans woman, a male body with male physiology setting a world record & winning a woman’s event in America in powerlifting. A woman with female biology cannot compete… it’s a pointless unfair playing field.”

The Connecticut women are still waiting for justice. Alanna Smith, an athlete in the lawsuit and daughter of MLB Hall of Famer Lee Smith, was a “three-peat” state champion in the 100-meter race in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, setting school and state records. While the 100-meter race was her strong race in middle school, she has recently excelled in the 400-meter race in high school. Despite her past athletic successes and clear potential, she cannot compete and win against the men.

Christiana Holcomb, the attorney representing the girls from Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement: “Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition. And forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics.” It is revealing that these issues surrounding transgender athletes in women’s sports are not getting the support of Democrats, like Elizabeth Warren, even as they continue to push for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Rather than making this into a “trans rights” issue, it must be acknowledged that each girl and woman deserves the right to participate in sports knowing that they are competing on a level playing field and that they have an equal opportunity to win. Alanna Smith, Selina Soule, and Chelsea Mitchell are prime examples of female athletes whose athletic opportunities have been sharply curtailed by men’s ability to compete in women’s sports. (There are many more examples.)

Idaho Governor Brad Little should stand firm and stand for women. And the ACLU should be ashamed for seeking to deprive Idaho girls of these opportunities.

Blake Elliott is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council.

Britain May Ban Gender Transition for Minors

by Peter Sprigg

April 28, 2020

A clinic in the United Kingdom has been the subject of controversy amid accusations that it rushes minors with gender dysphoria into gender transition medical procedures without adequate screening. Now, a cabinet minister has indicated that the government might ban such treatments for minors altogether.

Liz Truss, the Minister for Women and Equalities, told a parliamentary committee that the Conservative government would propose amendments to the nation’s Gender Recognition Act. The Act, first adopted in 2004, specifies the steps a person must take in order to change one’s legally recognized gender. However, instead of loosening the requirements, as transgender activists had urged, the government appears poised to tighten them.

Truss said that one of three priorities would be:

… making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future.

I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions.

Truss did not provide further details. But since relatively few minors undergo actual gender reassignment surgery, observers assume that the “irreversible decisions” the government is concerned about include the use of puberty-blocking hormones in young adolescents and cross-sex hormones in older teens.

In the U.S., efforts to ban such procedures for minors stalled this year in the South Dakota legislature after businesses and Gov. Kristi Noem expressed concern about the bill. In Alabama, a bill was advancing toward passage until the coronavirus pandemic prematurely ended the state’s legislative session.

Under Britain’s system of socialized medicine, known as the National Health Service (NHS), a limited number of medical clinics provide gender reassignment services. The only clinic serving minors is the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, with offices in London and Leeds.

After a three-year trial, the GIDS decided in 2014 to significantly expand its services to minors—including giving puberty blockers to children as young as nine. Since then, GIDS has seen a considerable increase in the number of children referred to them. But the clinic is also facing heightened criticism.

An Oxford professor, Dr. Michael Biggs, says that the clinic has downplayed the negative health effects of puberty blockers. Britain’s Sky News reported late in 2019 that as many as 35 psychologists have resigned from the GIDS over the last three years, with at least a half dozen speaking out against its practices—but anonymously, for fear of retaliation.

However, one retired psychotherapist, Marcus Evans, did speak out publicly after resigning from Tavistock’s Board of Governors. Evans warned:

When doctors always give patients what they want (or think they want), the fallout can be disastrous, as we have seen with the opioid crisis. And there is every possibility that the inappropriate medical treatment of children with gender dysphoria may follow a similar path.

… Tavistock officials … [seem to] have bought into the idea that transition is a goal unto itself, separate from the wellbeing of individual children, who now are being used as pawns in an ideological campaign.

This is the opposite of responsible and caring therapeutic work, which is based on the need to re-establish respectful but loving bonds between mind and body.

Victoria Gillick, a critic of the GIDS, predicted in 2014:

There will, in the future, be an awful lot of doctors who will be sued by older men and women for having done something to them before they were of an age to understand what the significance of it was.

That prediction came true this year with the filing of a lawsuit against the clinic. Originally filed by psychiatric nurse Susan Evans (wife of Marcus Evans) and the unidentified mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl awaiting treatment at the clinic, the suit has been joined by a 23-year-old woman, Keira Bell. She received hormone treatment at the clinic as a teenager but has now “de-transitioned” to reclaim her biological identity as a female. Bell declared:

I have become a claimant in this case because I do not believe that children and young people can consent to the use of powerful and experimental hormone drugs like I did.

I believe that the current affirmative system put in place by the Tavistock is inadequate as it does not allow for exploration of these gender dysphoric feelings, nor does it seek to find the underlying causes of this condition. 

Hormone-changing drugs and surgery does not work for everyone and it certainly should not be offered to someone under the age of 18 when they are emotionally and mentally vulnerable.

The treatment urgently needs to change so that it does not put young people, like me, on a torturous and unnecessary path that is permanent and life-changing.

The U.K. government appears to agree. When state legislators in the U.S. are able to convene again, they would be wise to follow the British example and prohibit “torturous and unnecessary” gender transition medical procedures for minors.

Virginia Democrats Force Citizens to Deny the Reality of Male and Female - on Good Friday

by Cathy Ruse

April 15, 2020

While Virginia families were preoccupied with the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic and job loss, Governor Ralph Northam quietly signed into law a bill that forces public businesses and even private organizations to open women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and dressing rooms to men who claim that they are women. It is an official rejection of God’s purposeful design of male and female.

The new law prohibits “all places or businesses offering or holding out to the general public goods, services, privileges, facilities, advantages, or accommodations” from denying access based on “gender identity.” “Gender identity” is defined as “gender-related identity, appearance, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

Two Democrats from Fairfax sponsored the bill: Delegate Marcus Simon and Senator Jennifer Boysko.

Christians, feminists, and all other conscientious objectors who believe in the science of biology can be punished for failing to follow this new law. The law makes no consideration for female athletes in Virginia, or for any women and girls who are not comfortable sharing intimate spaces with adult males. The Governor and his party have chosen sides, and they have chosen who the losers are. To the many women and girls who are sex abuse survivors, the message could not be clearer: We don’t care about you. Shut up and take it.

In a statement accompanying the signing, Northam said: “This legislation sends a strong, clear message—Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family.” But that’s not true at all. This law renders public schools, businesses, and organizations unwelcome to people unless they affirm an anti-Christian, anti-woman creed.

The law includes an extremely narrow exemption for private organizations that are “not in fact open to the public.” The exemption reads: “The provisions of this section shall not apply to a private club, a place of accommodation owned by or operated on behalf of a religious corporation, association, or society that is not in fact open to the public, or any other establishment that is not in fact open to the public.”

What does that mean for churches that invite the public to worship services? That offer free English language classes and meals to those in need? That perform sacred music in concerts open to the public? What does it mean for Christian schools that host competitive sports in their gymnasiums? Are these services, activities, and events not, in fact, open to the public under the language of this narrow exemption?

As former Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his concurring opinion in NIFLA v. Becerra, “[I]t is not forward thinking to force individuals to ‘be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view [they] find unacceptable.’” This new law, which punishes people for not assenting to an anti-Christian, anti-woman view of the human person, is not forward-thinking. It is offensive to freedom and devastating to women.

And it happened in Virginia, of all places. The home of Thomas Jefferson’s Religious Freedom Act, the model for the first freedom in the Bill of Rights.

And it happened on Good Friday; the day Christians worldwide commemorate God’s willing sacrifice of His only Son as the ransom for our sins.

We must work and pray for an end to this unjust law.

Coronavirus-Related Change in FDA Blood Donor Policy Threatens Public Health Instead of Protecting It

by Peter Sprigg

April 13, 2020

On April 2nd, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an easing of restrictions on blood donors. Concern has been raised that there may be a shortage of donated blood due to the cancellation of blood drives as a result of current social distancing rules.

Political pressure, not medical necessity, may have driven the most significant of the changes, however—involving the “deferral” as blood donors of men who have sex with men (“MSM”). Since 2015, the FDA has recommended excluding as blood donors any man who had sex with another man in the last 12 months. That deferral period has now been reduced to three months since the last male-male sexual contact.

Until 2015, however, MSM were subject to a lifetime deferral, prohibiting men from giving blood if they have had sex with another man even once since 1977. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, it was discovered both that HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) could be transmitted via blood transfusions and that men who have sex with men are at extraordinarily high risk of being infected. The lifetime ban was imposed in 1985 and lasted for 30 years.

LGBT activists, however, lobbied vigorously for lifting the deferral because of the “stigma” it imposed on MSM (note: the restriction does not apply to women who have sex with women, as they are not at significantly elevated risk of HIV). Family Research Council was active in opposing the change to the lifetime deferral.

Despite the dramatic change from a lifetime deferral to a 12-month one, LGBT groups have continued to lobby for further easing of the restriction. Almost as soon as the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, they jumped to exploit the crisis as an opportunity to advance their agenda. GLAAD posted a petition demanding that the limit on donations by MSM be lifted altogether. Although an FDA spokesman told the Washington Blade on March 19 that the restriction remained in place, only two weeks later it was revised, “[a]fter weeks of pressure from GLAAD and others.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledge that “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are the population most affected by HIV in the United States. In 2017, adult and adolescent gay and bisexual men made up 70% … [of] new HIV diagnoses in the United States (US) and dependent areas.” And this is despite the fact that men who have ever had sexual contact with men represent only about three percent of the population. Prior to removing the lifetime ban in 2015, the FDA noted that HIV prevalence among MSM is “60 times higher than the general population in the U.S., 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors.”

It’s not as though men who have sex with men are going to be the solution to any potential blood shortages anyway. Out of that 3 percent of the population, one must still subtract any who have had male-male sexual contact in the last three months, and subtract any of this high-risk population who have ever had a positive test for HIV. The remainder would be so tiny that it would hardly make a measurable impact on the blood supply—except for making it somewhat more dangerous.

The most troubling part of the FDA’s announcement was where it said, “These changes are being put forth for immediate implementation and are expected to remain in place after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.” It would be a tragic irony if a public health crisis cements in place a policy that threatens the public health instead of protecting it.

Off-Label Use of Drugs Are Fine for Gender Transitions, but Not for Coronavirus, Say Liberals

by Peter Sprigg

March 31, 2020

Liberals and the media have been criticizing President Trump for touting the possibility of using some anti-malarial drugs to fight the coronavirus. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, or a “drug cocktail” combining one of those with the antibiotic azithromycin have been proposed as possible drugs to prevent and/or treat the coronavirus, and what the Washington Post referred to as “tantalizing early results” of research showed that they might have promise.  

However, although these drugs have been around and used safely against malaria for decades, they have not yet been tested and proven safe and effective for use against the coronavirus. This has led to shock and outrage on the part of some. The Post’s headline read, “Trump keeps touting an unproven coronavirus treatment,” and their article reported:

The effort has raised concerns among health experts about safety risks — including the danger of fatal heart arrhythmia and vision loss associated with the drugs — and of raising false hopes in the American public.

In fact, the Post was alarmed enough to print an editorial on the subject as well, explaining:

Widespread testing for drug safety and efficacy is essential … Normally in the United States, a set of controlled clinical trials would be required before a drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration . . .

A Bloomberg headline read, “Trump Pushes an Unproven Coronavirus Drug,” and the article opens with this:

A tiny trial of a malaria drug may or may not have helped several patients in France fight off their coronavirus infections. The FDA has said it needs more study. Some expert doctors are skeptical. President Donald Trump is all for it.

Slate downplayed the drugs’ potential, saying, “Trump cited a report in a scientific journal that only studied 20 patients and was not a controlled clinical trial.” And the left-wing magazine Mother Jones headlined, “Trump Keeps Promoting Unproven Drugs: The cocktail carries significant risks and may not fight the coronavirus.”

It is true that the “off-label” use of a drug means that it has not been scientifically proven to be safe and effective for that particular condition. Such use is not illegal, however—and is fairly common. It has been estimated that one in five prescriptions written in America is for an off-label use.

And liberals have been far more enthusiastic about “off-label” use of some drugs—if they support one of their ideological pet projects.

The Off-Label Use of Drugs for Gender Transition

Take gender transition medical procedures, for example. Pre-teens who experience “gender dysphoria” (distress regarding their biological sex) are increasingly being treated with a regimen featuring puberty-blocking drugs (such as Lupron), followed by cross-sex hormones (testosterone or estrogen) followed by gender reassignment surgery.

These interventions are touted with terms like “evidence-based” and “standard of care”—so it might surprise some people (including the patients subjected to them) that all of these are “off-label” uses of such drugs. Puberty blockers, for example, are intended (in children) to treat a medical condition called “central precocious puberty,” in which the child begins to show the biological signs of puberty prematurely, at an age far younger than would normally be expected. The drugs stop the physical progression of puberty until they are removed at a more normal age for such development. The effect of their use to stop normal puberty, followed by their withdrawal at an older age or when beginning to take cross-sex hormones, has not been well-studied.

Sex hormones like estrogen are officially used to treat symptoms of menopause or certain cancers. However, an article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported, “Long-term effects and side effects of cross-sex hormone treatment in transsexual persons are not well known.”

Gender reassignment surgery (while not subject to the same testing as medications) has also not been proven safe and effective. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2016 found that “there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes,” in part because patients in the best studies “did not demonstrate clinically significant changes” after surgery.

Indeed, if you look closely, advocates of gender transition medical procedures do not even try to deny this. Fenway Health, which serves the LGBT community in Boston, writes that “no medications or other treatments are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purposes of gender alteration and affirmation.” A 2018 article in the journal Transgender Health reiterated that “there are no medications or other treatments that are FDA-approved for the purpose of gender affirmation.” And the American Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health reported that “steroidal hormones,” “GnRH analogs” (puberty blockers) and “antiandrogens” are all used “off-label” for “gender re-affirming therapy”—because their use “lacks scientific evidence.”

Trusting Ideology Over Science

The “off-label” use of a drug—any drug—may sometimes be justified, but should always be pursued with caution. However, there is one big difference between the drugs President Trump has shown enthusiasm for and the drugs that social liberals so eagerly tout. The coronavirus causes very real physical disease, which is killing more and more Americans every day. Expediting the experimental “off-label” use of malaria drugs may be justified because of the massive scope of the public health problem we face.

The off-label use of drugs for “gender transition” is quite different. Not only is there no comparable public health crisis—there is not even a physical illness that is being treated. Neither puberty nor being biologically male or female is a “disease.”

Liberals should be careful showing self-righteousness about putting “our trust in the scientists.” Their hypocrisy is showing when it comes to the transgender movement.

Why Christians Should Not Be Afraid of Being “Pro-Woman”

by Adelaide Holmes

March 6, 2020

Many Christians hesitate to call themselves “pro-woman,” and women are suffering because of it.

In a culture dominated by identity politics, many Christians are reluctant to claim any identity outside of the gospel of Christ, especially one that has been deeply politicized. But regardless of these concerns, it’s time the church understands that the principles of being “pro-woman” are not in conflict with the gospel call. The broader principles of being “pro-woman” are found throughout scripture, and our culture desperately needs to hear them. The longer we stay silent, the more women will suffer on our watch.

The church needs to understand that being “pro-woman” is not just a secular concept. If we look at how the “war on women” attacks woman’s humanity, we can see that Scripture supports being “pro-woman” in its larger context.

Being “pro-woman” is largely understood to be in favor of equality for women. Scripture supports a view of mankind that is incredibly value-giving to men and women equally because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This means that men and women have inherent value because they are more like God and represent Him to the world more than anything else in God’s creation. Because of this, some think that the church should simply be “pro-life” or “pro-humanity.” They’re right. The church should champion these values. But the problem is that women are especially under attack in our culture and around the world. Thus, being “pro-woman” should mean that we advocate for their protection and respect because they are being specifically targeted.

There is indeed a “war on women,” as the Left likes to say, but the nature of this war is gravely misunderstood, and its effects are dangerous and deeply dehumanizing. It comes from how cultures value women, and how they treat them.

In much of the world (and in America as well), women are often objectified as the means to gratify the sexual pleasures of men. Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking are just a few examples of practices that continuously shape the culture’s view of women and sexuality. Pornography teaches viewers that the sexual abuse and torture of women is normal and desired by them. Prostitution teaches culture to view women as commodities that can be bought “made to order.” If she won’t comply, she can be forced (as women in pornography often are). A study of prostituted women in Washington, D.C. showed that 44 percent were raped, and over half of them were physically assaulted and threatened with a weapon. Another study in 2018 found that 61 percent of prostituted women experienced “traumatic brain injuries” while in prostitution. Sex trafficking goes even further and teaches that twisted sexual fantasies can be pursued regardless of age or consent. In the United States, teens that are sexually exploited usually begin between the ages of 12 and 14. These women are coerced into sex trafficking to meet the sexual appetites of men and their traffickers, who have turned sex trafficking into a $99 billion per year worldwide horror show.

Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking tell a narrative that a woman’s value is in what she does sexually. As these institutions and practices spread and become normalized, their influence engulfs those who they hold captive, and it infiltrates the culture that our daughters grow up in.

Little girls grow into teenagers believing that their worth is something they must fight for. Teens grow into women believing that beauty is an action, not a state of being. To prove their worth, they jump in bed with men who have been conditioned by pornography to view women as products to be used, disrespected, and forced to perform or endure grotesque, porn-shaped sexual fantasies. This is the nightmare that our children grow up in.

This is the real “war on women” that the church needs to fight.

The church needs to fight to end pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking, which are all linked. While these are political battles, they are also cultural, and there are tangible things that can be done. The church needs to help rehabilitate women who were once victims of this exploitation and help men who were once captive to this darkness. Pastors needs to teach on a biblical approach to sexuality in marriage. Christians need to fight for this God-given truth: all people are made in the image of God and worthy of respect.

Women don’t deserve respect simply for what they do. They deserve respect for who they are. As Christians, we can share this value-giving truth with a sexually broken culture. This “war on women” thrives on the lie that a woman’s worth is based on her actions. As we recognize International Women’s Day this Sunday, March 8th, let us be truly “pro-woman” and remember that until our culture understands the intrinsic value and worth of all women, there will always be a “war on women.”

Keep Your Kids Home on Transgender Propaganda Day This Thursday!

by Cathy Ruse

February 25, 2020

Do you want your child to be psychologically manipulated at school on Thursday? Might be a good day for a Mommy Date at the museum!

The anti-Christian Human Rights Campaign and their pals at the powerful National Education Association are pushing public schools to recognize this Thursday as “Jazz and Friends National Day of School & Community Readings.” 

One of the books they are promoting is I Am Jazz, a transgender propaganda book designed for children. It is based on the real-life story of “Jazz,” a child who was convinced that he was born in the wrong body. As a child he was injected with hormones to block his normal sexual development, and recently he had radical surgery to complete his “transition” to another sex. Which, of course, is impossible.

Activists groups are trying to make the reading of this book an annual event. 

The day will be used to promote gender deviance and LGBT politics to vulnerable children. Not all schools are doing it. Yet. But some are.

In one Arlington, Va. school, “mystery readers” are scheduled to come and read to the children. The school has not revealed to parents who they are and what they will read. Wow.

Here’s what a group of concerned parents in Arlington are doing about it.

If you do find out your child’s school is hosting a “Jazz and Friends” event, you can also opt your child out. Here is a template for an opt-out letter to use.

Find out what’s happening in your school!

Do Puberty-Blocking Drugs Make Transgender Kids Less Likely to Commit Suicide, or More?

by Peter Sprigg

February 13, 2020

Puberty blockers” are hormones originally intended to deal with “precocious puberty,” in which a child experiences the physical signs of puberty prematurely. Now, however, puberty blockers are being used as a treatment for “gender dysphoria.” The theory is that a child who is already unhappy with his or her biological sex may become even more unhappy when his or her body begins to develop.

The most extreme claim is that transgender children forced to undergo normal puberty will kill themselves. Into this debate came a new academic study published in the Pediatrics medical journal that resulted in headlines like these: 

There’s only one problem. These headlines are wrong.

The word “suicide” implies a fatality. The Pediatrics study was not a study of suicide—because none of its subjects were dead. It was based upon answers given in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

The key outcome referenced in the article was “lifetime suicidal ideation.” This means thinking about committing suicide. The finding that those who received puberty blockers had lower “lifetime suicidal ideation” than those who wanted them but did not receive them got the attention because it was the only one that reached the level of “statistical significance.”

However, “lifetime suicidal ideation” was only one of nine mental health outcomes that were listed in the study.

On four of the nine outcome measures—nearly half—the outcomes for those who received puberty blockers were worse than for those who did not. Most of these differences were small, but one figure jumped off the page. Those who received puberty blockers were twice as likely to have had a suicide attempt resulting in inpatient care (i.e., hospitalization) in the last 12 months as those who did not (45.5 percent vs. 22.8 percent). While we cannot reach definitive conclusions because of the small numbers involved, this raises important questions that are at least worthy of further research.

Also, the lifetime rate of suicidal ideation for those who received puberty blockers were lower than for those who didn’t—but it was still astonishingly high, at 75 percent. This hardly suggests that administering puberty blockers makes most children with gender dysphoria mentally healthy.

The authors acknowledge the study’s design “does not allow for determination of causation.” But they go further, raising doubt that puberty blockers cause lower rates of suicidal ideation—because it may be that people with suicidal ideation were simply considered poor candidates to receive puberty blockers.

Let’s be clear—we cannot conclude from this study that children who take puberty blockers are more likely to commit suicide than those who don’t.

But we also cannot conclude that they are less likely to commit suicide—notwithstanding the breathless media coverage.

Legislators considering restrictions on radical gender transition procedures for minors should make those decisions based on the harmful physical effects and risks of those interventions, many of which are well-known—not based upon the misinterpretation of psychological studies whose implications are far from clear.

The Evidence Suggests Gender Transition Procedures for Minors are Experimental

by Peter Sprigg

February 13, 2020

Several states have introduced bills that would prohibit certain physical procedures that alter the normal development or body of a child or adolescent for the purpose of facilitating a “gender transition.” These laws (sometimes called “Vulnerable Child Protection Acts”) would ban the use of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or gender reassignment surgery in minors.

One of the arguments raised by opponents is that these procedures should not be restricted because they represent a standard of care that is “evidence-based.” “Evidence-based” is something of a buzzword in medicine, indicating that medical practices should not just be based on opinion (even “expert” opinion), but on sound scientific research.

But just how good is the “evidence” cited in support of gender transition procedures—especially for minors?

The Endocrine Society’s Influential Guidelines

One of the most recent and influential sets of guidelines for the medical care of transgender people was published in 2017 by the Endocrine Society (W. Hembree et al., “Endocrine Treatment of Gender-Dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline,” Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism 102(11), November 2017, p. 3869-3903). This document explicitly sought to adopt an “evidence-based” approach:

The task force followed the approach recommended by the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation group, an international group with expertise in the development and implementation of evidence-based guidelines.

The Endocrine Society issued specific guidelines in five separate areas:

  1. Evaluation of youth and adults (5 guidelines)
  2. Treatment of adolescents (6 guidelines)
  3. Hormonal therapy for transgender adults (4 guidelines)
  4. Adverse outcome prevention and long-term care (7 guidelines)
  5. Surgery for sex reassignment and gender confirmation (6 guidelines)

Evaluating the Quality of the Evidence

The key question is—what is the quality of the evidence in support of the guidelines? I decided to examine that issue.

There are three types of guidelines:

  • An “Ungraded Good Practice Statement”—essentially supported by no evidence (beginning “We advise . . .”)
  • A “weak recommendation” (beginning “We suggest . . .”)
  • A “strong recommendation” (labeled “We recommend . . .”)

Only with the strong recommendations does the task force express “confidence that persons who receive care according to [them] … will derive, on average, more benefit than harm.”

Then for each of the “recommendations” (weak or strong) they give a rating of the “quality of the evidence” in support of that recommendation, on a four-point scale: very low, low, moderate, or high.

How Strong is the Evidence Regarding Gender Transition Procedures for Minors?

If we omit category 3 (which applies only to adults), there are 24 guidelines that are generally relevant to the procedures at issue in Vulnerable Child Protection Acts—puberty blockers, hormones for adolescents, and surgery.

Of these 24 guidelines:

  • 5 are ungraded good practice statements (no evidence);
  • 2 are weak recommendations with very low evidence; and
  • 9 are weak recommendations with low evidence.

That means only 8 of the 24 “guidelines” are even “strong” recommendations—one third of the total. Of those:

  • 2 are supported by very low evidence;
  • 5 are supported by low evidence; 
  • Only 1 is supported by even “moderate” evidence;
  • None are supported by “high quality” evidence.

Evaluating the Recommendations

Several of the “strong recommendations” and other guidelines relate to controlling the potential negative side effects of gender transition, rather than actually recommending the transition procedure.

For example, the lone guideline supported by even “moderate” evidence was one warning patients to look into “fertility preservation” (some method of storing sperm or eggs), because the procedures may permanently sterilize the individual:

1.5. We recommend that clinicians inform and counsel all individuals seeking gender-affirming medical treatment regarding options for fertility preservation prior to initiating puberty suppression in adolescents and prior to treating with hormonal therapy of the affirmed gender in both adolescents and adults.

Some of the guidelines actually support what Vulnerable Child Protection Acts would do. Very few procedures which actually follow the Endocrine Society guidelines would also violate South Dakota’s VCPA, HB 1057.

For example, they recommend strongly (with low evidence) initiating cross-sex hormone treatment only after confirming “sufficient mental capacity to give informed consent, which most adolescents have by age 16 years” (2.4). (Guideline 2.5 says there may be exceptions to this, but it is supported by “very low” evidence.)

In addition, a “weak recommendation” with low evidence (5.5) suggests “that clinicians delay gender-affirming genital surgery … until the patient is at least 18 years old.”

Another weak recommendation (supported by very low evidence) suggests the timing of breast surgery be determined case by case, because “There is insufficient evidence to recommend a specific age requirement.” However, the lack of evidence would suggest that such radical, body-altering surgery should be postponed to a later age if possible, not accelerated.

Meanwhile, the key guidelines in support of puberty suppression (2.1 and 2.2) are only weak recommendations, supported by low evidence. The strong recommendation that some patients (over age 18) be referred for genital surgery is supported by “very low” evidence.

A Weak Evidence Base

In summary, the claim that these treatments are “evidence-based” is misleading, because the quality of the evidence in this field (even for the Endocrine Society’s “strong” recommendations) is low.

Until the quality of the evidence becomes higher, gender transition procedures must be considered experimental procedures at best.

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