Responding to Jackson Clark’s Open Forum published March 28, I’m grateful she invited me to the recent panel discussion on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) issues sponsored by her Valley Equality Project held at Shenandoah University.
Speakers on the panel shared the opinion that people choosing a homosexual lifestyle and those who choose to present themselves as inconsistent with their biological sex should be granted new rights on the premise they will otherwise suffer if those behaviors are not granted full legitimacy in school and public policies. Many present advocated for creation of new LGBTQ rights, especially in schools.
What is actually being proposed is a gender-neutral society where boys can be girls and girls can be boys, where same-sex attractions are just as normal as male-female attractions and relationships, and where school and public policies must change to reflect these ideas.
Everyone ought to be concerned about public policies and decisions that affect people’s well-being and safety, especially children. On that we agree. So it is very important that parents, teachers and policymakers consider good testimony, evidence, and well-reasoned observations, not just emotional pleas.
Following are three important things we should consider that were not mentioned in this discussion and are often absent in the broader conversation:
First, embracing and normalizing the lifestyle of a group of people who is very inclined toward suicide is contrary to intuition and common sense, so normalization ought only to be supported if based on strong evidence. I have seen none. In LGBTQ–affirming Sweden, suicide rates among those who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery are nearly 20 times greater than rates among all Swedes.
Author and public speaker Walt Heyer has a passion to help those who regret “gender change,” as he does.
Walt writes: “The reprieve provided by surgery and life as a woman was only temporary. Hidden deep underneath the make-up and female clothing was the little boy carrying the hurts from traumatic childhood events … Being a female turned out to be only a cover-up, not healing … Feeling lost and depressed, I drank heavily and considered suicide.”
He chose to return “…to wholeness as a man after undergoing unnecessary gender surgery and living life legally and socially as a woman for years.”
Second, it is not compassionate to ignore a treatable disorder and deny treatment that could provide relief, or, worse yet, provide treatment that is harmful. Cross-sex hormones have dangerous health risks such as cardiac disease, stroke, diabetes, sterility and cancer.
Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, makes a very forceful conclusion about “confused thinking” in his published article, “Gender Ideology Harms Children.”: “When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind, not the body, and it should be treated as such.
“These children suffer from gender dysphoria ... as many as 98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”
Third, LGBTQ activists want new rights that would impose enormous effects on the rest of society, including very young children. People who seek to fully normalize LGBTQ lifestyles don’t talk a lot about specific polices. Like it or not, granting new rights to LGBTQ people will also infringe on the rights of others. Here are some questions everyone ought to ask as they form their opinions:
• Should schools have programs to train children to accept homosexuality and transgender lifestyles as normal healthy options for anyone?
• Should school curricula re-define “family” to include same-sex couples?
• Should school curricula and events promote gender experimentation and exploration?
• Should schools promote coming out of homosexuals at pride events?
And the list goes on.
It is right and compassionate to follow the sound advice of medical experts and protect kids from LGBTQ propaganda. I encourage people to be willing to take an objective look at the facts and not be intimidated as they work to keep kids on a path to healthy adulthood.
Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton represents the 33rd District in the House of Delegates.