Some Republican anti-transgender bills are going way too far

These proposals are outrageous — especially coming from 'conservatives.'

There’s a wave of Republican legislation surfacing throughout the country that aims to restrict medical gender transitions. Some of it makes sense, but some of it is going way too far.

Many people, myself included, think minors are too young to understand complicated issues about sex and gender fully and cannot consent to life-altering medical treatments that are relatively novel and incredibly light on research. And many gender-confused youths will “grow out of it” if they don’t medically transition and reconcile with their birth sex. (Many eventually end up identifying as gay men or lesbian women.)

That’s why I think it’s reasonable for states to restrict medical, not social, transition for youth legally until they reach the age of consent in their state. That’s what some of these Republican bills attempt to do. But some would outlaw medical transition even for adults.

“Legislation in Oklahoma and South Carolina would make it a felony to provide hormonal or surgical transition treatment to transgender people younger than 26 — an uncharted incursion into adults’ healthcare,” the New York Times reports. “Other bills in both states, and in Kansas and Mississippi, would ban such care up to age 21.”

These proposals are outrageous — especially coming from “conservative” Republicans who claim to believe in limited government and individual liberty. An 18-year-old, let alone a 26-year-old, in the United States is a legal adult. They pay taxes, can vote on the fate of our country, and can even go to war.

The idea that the government has the right to tell them what to do with their bodies is beyond absurd. Even if you think it’s wrong to transition in general, freedom has to include the right of other people to do things you don’t like, so long as they’re not hurting anyone else.

Proposals that extend to restricting adults are no longer about “protecting children,” who can’t realistically understand the risks and decide for themselves. At that point, you’re taking a page out of the Left’s playbook and trying to dictate to other people how they have to live through brute government force.

If you don’t want the government involved in your healthcare, you can’t pass laws allowing the government to dictate healthcare choices and procedures to other adults.

Yes, the cultural and scientific debate over gender and transgender topics is complex. Some people with gender dysphoria are drastically helped by medically transitioning and go on to live happy lives as the other gender. Others face serious medical complications or regret their decisions. I don’t claim to be an expert or have the answers on what’s right for them. But complicated topics with a lot of nuances are some of the very last decisions we should be leaving in the hands of an incompetent and corrupt government entity.

The whole thing smacks of misplaced priorities, to boot. According to Pew Research, just 0.6%, less than 1%, of the U.S. adult population identifies as a transgender man or woman. In a time of runaway inflation bankrupting people, increasing aggression from Russia and China, crime spikes in part of the country, and so many other problems, it’s absurd beyond belief that Republicans would prioritize micromanaging the lives of a tiny slice of the population.

The gender debate is complicated, but respecting the rights of adults to weigh those risks for themselves isn’t. At least, not if you actually believe a word you say about freedom and small government.

This column originally appeared at the Washington Examiner

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Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and co-founder of Based Politics. His work has been cited by top lawmakers such as Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Pat Toomey, Congresswoman Nancy Mace, Congressman Thomas Massie, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as by prominent media personalities such as Jordan Peterson, Sean Hannity, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, and Mark Levin. Brad has also testified before the US Senate, appeared on Fox News and Fox Business, and written for publications such as USA Today, National Review, Newsweek, and the Daily Beast. He hosts the Breaking Boundaries podcast and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.