Dozens of California parents of gender dysphoric teens, as well as medical professionals, have denounced proposed legislation that would force all health care providers to promote “gender-affirming” and “trans-inclusive” health care.
Senate Bill 923, the Transgender Inclusive Care Act, introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would require health care providers, including health insurers, Medi-Cal, and PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) organizations, to compel staff and contractors to complete “evidence-based cultural competency training” for the purpose of providing “trans-inclusive” health care to patients who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming and intersex (TGI).
Staff and contractors found not to be providing trans-inclusive care would be required to complete refresher courses “on a more frequent basis if deemed necessary.”
Opponents of SB 923 include the American College of Pediatricians, the California Medical Association, the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Concerned Women of America, coalitions representing health insurers and life insurance companies, the California Family Council, Our Duty, other individuals, and parents.
Supporters of the bill include such groups as Equality California, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Break the Binary LLC, California Transcends, Gender Justice, Orange County Trans Latinas, Queer Works and the Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance among others.
One parent of a gender dysphoric teen, who goes by the pseudonym Charlie Jacobs to protect herself and her daughter’s identity, told The Epoch Times parents of all political stripes are banding together to oppose the bill and its supporters.
“Parents and voters are reaching across the aisle to each other to safeguard families. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans are all working together against the gender ideology and usurping of parental rights,” Jacobs said.
“Many of the Independents,” she said “used to be Democrats. They’ve changed their party affiliation because of the over-wokeness in the Democratic Party.”
Jacobs said the training would force controversial ideologies on “the whole medical community.”
The bill states that any health insurer—excluding dental and vision plans—that “issues, sells, renews, or offers health insurance policies for health care coverage in this state … shall require all of its health insurer staff, contracted providers, and support staff who are in direct contact with insureds in the delivery of care or insured services” to complete the training.
“So, anybody who is in contact with a patient must go through this,” Jacobs said.
The proposed law requires that government grants be paid “to TGI-serving organizations” to facilitate the training and creating educational materials.
“The bill would fund trans lobbyists to lobby the government,” said Jacobs.
“So, there is no requirement that they have any accreditation to teach these courses, or medical background. It’s just that they serve the organizations. So truly, someone who does feminization hair removal could be one of these trainers,” Jacobs claimed.
SB 923 would authorize the state Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to impose progressive reinforcement actions on plans that don’t comply with “the new health equity and quality reporting requirements,” according to a bill analysis from the Senate Health Committee.
The “evidence-based cultural competency training” would include information about the effects of “historical and contemporary exclusion and oppression of TGI communities.”
Participants would be trained to use “TGI-inclusive terminology, using people’s correct names and pronouns, even when they are not reflected in records or legal documents,” the bill states.
The training would also promote “avoiding language, whether verbal or nonverbal, that demeans, ridicules, or condemns TGI individuals” and “avoiding making assumptions about gender identity by using gender-neutral language and avoiding language that presumes all individuals are heterosexual, cisgender or gender conforming, or non-intersex.”
Jacobs argues that teaching the history and oppression of the TGI community has “nothing to do with medicine and the bill is “dictating language.”
“Why don’t they need to learn the history of World War II, or black people, or the Civil War? This is nonsensical,” Jacobs said.
“Does a doctor need to know everything about slavery so he can treat a black person? Do doctors have to sit through a class to learn about the Holocaust to treat Jewish patients?” she asked.
Jacobs likened the potential training process to methods used in communist re-education camps.
“The training, because it can be repeated and repeated again, is like re-education—very similar to communism and what China does,” she said. So, if the insurer does not ‘educate properly,’ and there is a complaint, [staff] are required to take the class again, and again, and again until they get it right.”
The new proposed law could also be “weaponized” and used to target health insurers and staff who may not agree with certain notions included in “gender-affirming” care, she said.
The California Family Council also opposes SB 923 because it “seeks to re-educate doctors, medical workers, and health insurance agents who believe it is harmful to use sterilizing drugs and surgeries to treat people with gender dysphoria,” according to a letter sent to the Senate Health Committee.
“Despite what the bill author says, there is no universal agreement within the medical community regarding the best way to provide healthcare to transgender-identified individuals. The governments and medical institutions of the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Finland have rejected prioritizing ‘gender-affirming’ treatment in favor of an emphasis on mental health,” the letter states.
The council cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision that states government officials are not allowed to compel private organizations to communicate government-sponsored messages to their employees.
“Compelled speech is a violation of the First Amendment. This was recently reaffirmed in 2018 by the US Supreme Court NIFLA v. Becerra decision, in which the court told California legislators they could not compel a pro-life pregnancy clinic to communicate a government message regarding abortions,” the council stated.
Doctor: SB 923 is ‘Extremely Dangerous’
Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist based in Rocklin, Calif. told The Epoch Times that SB 923 is “extremely dangerous,” and would promote experimental treatments over sound medical practices.
“The whole bill is dangerous if you think about it. People who aren’t qualified to talk about these things, are trying to get physicians to do all kinds of dangerous surgeries, or compel them legally,” he said. “That’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
Laidlaw said the bill is proposing “a Stalinist type of re-education system” for doctors and health care professionals, based on principles that “are not medically sound.”
Puberty blockers shouldn’t be used to treat kids with gender dysphoria because studies show that most of them outgrow it, he said.
“If you just leave them alone, and don’t put them through hormones and chemicals and social transition, they’ll revert to believing that they are their natural sex,” Laidlaw said. “But, once they’re on puberty blockers, a very high percentage—over 95 percent—do not choose to go off of these blockers, and then they go on to these cross-sex hormones, which I call wrong-sex hormones.”
Gender dysphoric children whose trans identities are “affirmed” are “getting high-dose hormones of the opposite sex, which are harmful to their bodies,” he said. And then, they become “chemically locked into a state where they’re lifelong dependent on hormones of the opposite sex.”
Laidlaw fears the legislation could potentially multiply the problems by “many fold.”
He pointed out that physicians and surgeons are not bound to follow the so-called “standards of care” suggested by trans activist groups such the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
“They’re a trans advocacy organization, which is fine, but they’re not a medical organization. I’m not compelled to follow their standards,” Laidlaw said.
Laidlaw had planned to speak against SB 923 at a California Senate Health Committee hearing on March 30, but the meeting was postponed. Although he won’t be speaking at the rescheduled hearing on April 6 because only two speakers from each side—opponents and supporters—are allowed to speak during public comments period, a woman who began taking testosterone, regretted it, and is now detransitioning, is expected to address the senate committee.
California parents whose children have suffered from Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), including a California leader of Parents for ROGD Kids, and an international support group called Our Duty have also stated their opposition to SB 923.
According to an estimate by the organization, the legislation would mean spending tens of millions of tax dollars to pay transgender activists to train the medical community.
Our Duty has stated that “SB 923 will make it impossible for parents to safeguard their children from irreversible damage based on an ephemeral feeling that deep down they are the opposite sex—a physical impossibility. It also states the proposed legislation is “unconstitutional, illegal, harmful” and defies “evidence-based medicine.”
The group asserts there is no evidence gender reassignment surgery is “live-saving,” as trans activist groups claim, and suggests the surgeries may be causing more suicides.
“Data indicates a 19 percent increased completed suicide rate post medicalization in surgeries in female to male transitioners—a 40 percent higher risk than the general population,” Our Duty states.
The group has accused California lawmakers of ignoring “the rapidly expanding population of detransitioners,” whom Our Duty claims are shunned by the TGI community.
“Therefore, the ‘cultural training’ will exclude this group of regretters who embody an inconvenient truth for those pushing the trans agenda,” Our Duty states.
One parent, who described herself as a “former Democrat—now Republican” wrote in opposition to the bill:
“I am a parent of a 17-year-old female who for two years firmly, persistently and consistently stated that she was a boy. She was groomed by pornography, peer groups, online friends, influencers on Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube, and through her public school Comprehensive Sex Curriculum. [Child Protective Services] CPS showed up at our home,” the parent wrote.
“All of the therapists, doctors and teachers affirmed my daughter’s male identity as we initially followed the gender doctor’s advice and placed her on puberty blockers. I started researching and learned that the doctors were wrong. We took her off the drugs, [and] engaged a psychiatrist who was willing to treat her depression and anxiety. We removed her from public school. She is comfortable as a female. The long-term effects of the puberty blockers that she was on are unknown,” she states.
Another parent who goes by the pseudonym Keene Prodan wrote that her 15-year-old daughter who has autism, attention-deficit disorder (ADD), endocrine disorders, and anxiety was allegedly “groomed” through the Comprehensive Sex Ed curriculum at a Los Angeles public school.
In the summer of 2020, the girl’s group of five friends announced that they all self-identified as trans, the parent wrote. She spent more than 12 hours a day during the COVID-19 lockdown on TikTok and Instagram and was influenced by her peers to watch pornography. The girl’s therapist had accepted her as a lesbian in June, but by August she identified as trans.
“The therapist never once did any exploration, but instead, immediately went along with this new, shocking self-declaration,” Prodan wrote.
Within a year, the family left Los Angeles and moved to a mountainside community in California.
“In the summer of 2021, we left everything behind—our home in L.A. … professional and social relationships, her doctors, school, therapist and friends who got her into this,” she wrote.
“My daughter has desisted. She is happy as a young woman,” the parent wrote. “We, the parents, categorically denounce the transgender ideology.”
Another parent of a 14-year-old girl who was “all things girly-glitter,” wrote that her daughter was influenced on social media.
“During the pandemic she was groomed by online friends, her art peer group who all identify as some trans/nonbinary with as many labels as they can give themselves,” the parent wrote.
On TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, influencers convinced the girl she was trans, rather than experiencing the normal angst of puberty, the parent said.
“She was coached that if her parents didn’t immediately affirm and use her new him/her pronouns they are transphobic and should be cut out of her life. All of the school counselors, doctors and teachers immediately affirmed my daughter’s male identity,” she said.
The parent has ignored all of the “affirming advice,” including from her daughter’s friends, and instead consulted a therapist who was willing to treat her child for anxiety and depression in the hopes she will accept her gender.
“She is showing progress to returning to her healthy self,” the parent said.
An experienced clinical psychologist and a self-described Democrat in Beverly Hills, Calif., stated she has noticed a trend within about the last seven years of children and adolescents who have suddenly “become confused about their own gender, without a prior history or early childhood gender incongruity.”
These kids are misinterpreting the normal turbulence of adolescence, intermixed with emotional or developmental issues as “an indication of being trans,” she stated.
“In my opinion, the well-intentioned efforts to free trans youth from oppression and prejudice has led to an over-focus on gender to the detriment of youth with emotional or developmental issues,” the psychologist stated.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, President Joe Biden’s administration has released documents advocating for puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender-reassignment surgeries for minors.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) describes both “top” and “bottom” surgeries as appropriate treatments for trans youth. Two departments within HHS posted documents promoting “gender-affirming” so-called “standards of care” on March 31, named “Gender Affirming Care and Young People” and “Gender-Affirming Care Is Trauma-Informed Care.”