(The Daily Signal) – “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming for your children” might as well become the new slogan of the Golden State.
California’s Legislature has passed—or is about to pass—a slew of bills aimed at undermining the rights of parents (and potential foster parents) who disagree with the transgender worldview.
What would the state need to launch a transgender inquisition? It would need inquisitors to identify and hunt down parents who dared to dissent from gender ideology. It would need an apparatus to induct kids into its cult while keeping parents in the dark. It would need institutions to screen potential foster parents to block heretics from fostering or adopting kids who might convert to the state religion. Most importantly, it would need a legal way to pry kids from the arms of their apostate progenitors.
These legislative proposals foot that bill. One of them would train teachers to profile these hated “anti-LGBTQ” parents, another would train psychotherapists to prepare to hide gender “treatments” from parents at a minor’s request, a third would prevent school districts from removing sexually explicit books if they contain transgender themes, a fourth would prevent Californians from becoming foster parents if they dissent from gender ideology, and the fifth would expand the definition of child abuse to include “non-affirmation” of a child’s claimed transgender identity.
In a supreme Orwellian irony, each of these California bills claims to uphold the virtues of “diversity” and “inclusion,” while forcing down parents’ throats a constricting worldview at odds with reality and seeking to exclude moms and dads from raising their own children if they dare to disagree.
1. Profiling Parents
AB-5, called the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, passed the California State Assembly in May by a vote of 64-4 and on Thursday passed the California State Senate, 32-3. The bill would mandate an “online delivery platform and an online training curriculum to support LGBTQ cultural competency training for teachers and other certified employees.”
Not only does this training enforce transgender ideology among educators, but it also trains educators to profile those despicable “anti-LGBTQ” parents.
Sure, the so-called Safe and Supportive Schools Act doesn’t explicitly state that “the material will include five tips on profiling parents who dissent from gender ideology so we can rip their kids from their arms.” It’s far subtler than that.
The bill states that “at a minimum,” training will include information on ” identifying LGBTQ+ youth who are subject to, or may be at risk of, bullying and lack of acceptance at home or in their communities.”
Yet how would teachers identify these allegedly vulnerable “LGBTQ+ youth” if not by examining the parents who supposedly pose such a threat to the boys and girls they brought into the world?
Make no mistake: This bill does involve training teachers to profile parents based on the likelihood that they may secretly harbor heresy against the transgender state religion.
2. Hiding ‘Treatments’
California’s attorney general already is fighting to prevent school districts from creating policies that inform parents when their children claim to identify as the opposite sex while at school, but AB-655 goes further.
The bill, focused on minors’ consent to mental health services, first passed the state Assembly in April. An amended version on Wednesday passed the state Senate, 31-8, and the Assembly again, 60-16, on Thursday.
The bill states that youth “express significant trepidation about needing to disclose to parents their mental health concerns and their need to access services.” It states that “LGBTQ+ youth” face “depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol use” in part due to “rejection from parents” and that mental health providers “find that obtaining parental consent for a youth who needs support is complicated by the parent or caretakers’ beliefs and stigma about mental health care.”
This “stigma” undoubtedly includes reservations about social “affirmation” of a gender identity at odds with a minor’s biological sex. Dr. Stephen B. Levine, a psychiatrist and early proponent of transgender medical interventions, explained that this kind of social transition “is a powerful psychotherapeutic intervention that radically changes outcomes” and makes it far less likely that young children will “desist” from a transgender identity.
Therapies that encourage a person to maintain a transgender identity will lead them to undergo experimental medical interventions in confirming it. Although proponents euphemistically call these interventions “gender-affirming care,” even the most minor interventions (“puberty blockers” such as Lupron) involve the off-label use of drugs that authorities use to chemically castrate sex offenders.
There is no evidence that cross-sex hormones help children long term, but these hormones do pose risks such as low bone density, disfiguring acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, abnormal glucose tolerance, breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease.
Even these drugs can have irreversible effects, but many kids also mutilate their own bodies further. Girls wear binders that restrict their breasts and increase their risk for various diseases. Contrary to the repeated claims of transgender advocates, many minors even get the euphemistically termed “top surgery” and “bottom surgery”—surgeries to physically remove healthy body parts. A recent study found that, over five years, 3,500 minors went under the knife to “affirm” a transgender identity.
AB-655 states that “mental health treatment” shall involve a minor’s parent or guardian “unless the professional person who is treating or counseling the minor, after consultation with the minor, determines that the involvement would be inappropriate.” In doing so, the legislation intentionally carves out an exception to hide “gender-affirming counseling” from parents on the suspicion that parents who want to save their kids from later experimental interventions actually pose a threat to their own children.
3. Restricting Concerned Parents
Across the country, parents have raised the alarm about sexually explicit books in school libraries. While parents note that “Gender Queer” contains pictures of sexual acts between a boy and a man and “Lawn Boy” contains long passages in which a boy reminisces about sexual experiences at age 10, pro-transgender advocates defend these books as necessary for LGBTQ+ children to “see themselves” in literature.
AB-1078 bills itself as protecting “instructional materials and curriculum” that address “diversity.” On Thursday, it passed both the California Senate, 31-9, and the Assembly, 61-17.
The bill aims to prohibit a public school board or a charter school governing body from “refusing to approve or prohibiting the use of any textbook, instructional material, or other curriculum or any book or other resource in a school library on the basis that it includes a study of the role and contributions of any individual or group” as laid out in requirements to “accurately portray the cultural and racial diversity of our society.”
The Legislature claims that “restricting access to classroom and library materials because they feature LGBTQ people or were written by LGBTQ authors discriminates against LGBTQ people and constitutes censorship in violation of California law and policy. Similarly, efforts to categorically exclude topics related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics, or of present or historical discrimination based on protected characteristics, from school library collections, curricula, or classroom discussions constitute censorship that violates California law and policy.”
By preventing school boards from removing certain books from curricula or school libraries, HB-1078 would tie the hands of concerned moms and dads who object to sexual materials, books proselytizing transgender ideology, and books expounding critical race theory. The latter concept encourages students to find “systemic racism” throughout American institutions and to reexamine every aspect of life through a race-based lens that assumes white people are oppressors and black people are oppressed.
4. State Orthodoxy for Foster Parents
SB-407, which cleared the California Senate in May by a vote of 31-5, advanced Sept. 1 through an Assembly committee. Although the bill has yet to pass the state’s lower house, it represents an extension of the transgender measures that the Assembly has passed repeatedly in recent days.
The bill would require a “resource family” in the foster care system to “demonstrate … an ability and willingness to meet the needs of a child regardless of the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and that, should difficulties around these issues arise, a willingness to obtain resources offered by the county or foster family agency or other available resources to meet those needs.”
Not only must foster parents swear to uphold gender ideology, under this bill they must swear to work with the agency on these issues “should difficulties arise.” If they can somehow convince the agencies they’re not transphobic bigots once, that won’t be enough—the agency can check on their orthodoxy should one of those teachers see any hints that an “LGBTQ+ youth” might be “at risk” in their homes.
5. Child Abuse
The capstone to this entire system of mandated belief is the most Orwellian provision of all: AB-957, the bill that makes it “child abuse” if a parent disagrees with his or her child’s stated gender identity. This bill passed the Assembly, 51-13, in March and the Senate on Friday, 57-16.
As my colleague Tony Kinnett reported, this bill would require judges in child custody cases to consider whether a parent has affirmed a child’s “gender transition” by making “gender affirmation” an equal part of a child’s “health, safety, and welfare” under state law.
Under this quintessentially Orwellian measure, if a boy tells his parents he thinks he might be a girl and that he might be considering a medicalized path toward cutting off his genitals, those parents will face a loss of custody and perhaps child abuse charges if they tell him that he is actually male and should keep his body intact. Meanwhile, if the parents encourage a delusion that leads to self-harm, they will remain in the state’s good graces and get to keep custody of their son.
The Golden State appears on the cusp of adopting a full state apparatus to force gender orthodoxy on parents, on pain of losing custody of their own children. These new laws enlist teachers, therapists, foster care agencies, and family courts as inquisitors to make sure parents don’t step out of line.
It may come as no surprise that a California state senator who voted against the measure, Republican Scott Wilk, has urged parents to leave his own state.
“If you love your children, you need to flee California,” Wilk said. “You need to flee.”
Or you need to stand and fight. A coalition of parents rights activists have launched ballot initiatives to circumvent this legislative abuse of power, and it may not be too late for them to reverse the tide on this.
After all, if President Joe Biden has his way, you may need to flee the U.S., too. Americans cannot afford to sit back while the Left goes after the children. If the transgender inquisition is not afraid to separate children from parents, what area of society will it fear to penetrate?
Parents and concerned citizens in California and across the country must stand up to this insanity and draw a firm line in the sand.