Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has introduced a bill in the House to block research into gender-affirming treatments for transgender youth, claiming that trans youth are “sexualized and used for horrific sexual ‘research'” when given life-saving puberty blockers and calling transitioning “genital mutilation.”
Boebert’s bill, the “Protecting Our Kids from Harmful Research Act,” would block federal funds from being “used to fund research or publications relating to gender transition in individuals under the age of 18.”
She specifies that even “observational studies” of teens who are getting puberty blockers already are included in the proposed ban.
The bill says that puberty blockers and other treatments can still be studied if they’re not being used as gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The bill explicitly exempts studies on the very same treatments if they’re used to affirm gendered characteristics of cisgender youth (like cis boys who get prescribed testosterone) or used to treat a condition unrelated to gender.
“Add mutilating children to the National Institute of Horrors’ (NIH) long list of funding evil research,” Boebert said in the press release announcing her bill, which accused NIH of “scalping aborted babies and fusing their skin to lab rats” and doing research that involves “insects eating dogs’ faces off.”
The dog experiment she was referring to involved testing for a dog vaccine for leishmaniasis, and researchers said the dogs were not, in fact, eaten alive and that study was not funded by NIH. This information was included in the article linked by Boebert’s own press release.
“Using psychologically vulnerable children as lab rats for testing the puberty-blocking drugs used in chemical castration procedures for sex offenders, medically unnecessary mastectomies, irreversible hormone treatment, life-altering sterilization procedures, and genital mutilation is wrong,” Boebert continued.
Boebert’s bill is a companion to one introduced in the Senate in September by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). His release for the Senate version of the bill claims that transitions “rarely produce the intended clinical outcomes of improving mental health and alleviating gender dysphoria,” citing a Swedish study from 2011 by Dr. Cecilia Dhejne.
Dr. Dhejne has spent years trying to get conservatives to stop misrepresenting her research.
“It’s very frustrating!” she told TransAdvocate. “Of course trans medical and psychological care is efficacious. A 2010 meta-analysis confirmed by studies thereafter show that medical gender confirming interventions reduces gender dysphoria.”
Her study found that trans people have high rates of various mental health conditions even after transitioning, but Dr. Dhejne said that discrimination and oppression are the more likely culprits.
“Trans people as a group also experience significant social oppression in the form of bullying, abuse, rape and hate crimes,” she said. “Medical transition alone won’t resolve the effects of crushing social oppression: social anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress.”
Puberty blockers are medications that postpone the onset of puberty so that trans youth and their families can have more time to understand their identities before the permanent and life-changing effects of puberty happen. They have been found to significantly reduce lifetime suicide risk for transgender people who had access to them as teens.
Boebert’s and Lee’s bills are unlikely to pass in the Democratically controlled House and Senate. But both show how far Republicans are willing to go in their war on transgender youth by not just banning gender-affirming care for transgender people – as several states have tried to do – but also banning research on it.
Boebert’s bill does nothing to stop research related to infectious diseases at NIH, despite her multiple references to such research in the press release for the bill. Those references are there because Boebert and other conservatives have over the past several months relentlessly attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, and have misrepresented federal research to make it seem like Fauci is unusually cruel, despite devoting his life to fighting deadly diseases like HIV and COVID-19.
Last year, Fauci was critical of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and he been a steadfast supporter of masking, social distancing, and vaccines, all measures conservatives are currently organizing against.
“Vaccine mandates are wrong,” Boebert tweeted last week, despite multiple vaccines being required for most schools in the U.S. “Vaccine mandates for children are worse.”
Vaccine mandates are wrong. Vaccine mandates for children are worse.
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) November 10, 2021
Children should be protected and nurtured, not sexualized and used for horrific sexual “research.”
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) November 8, 2021