The End of Girls’ Sports

Ask-Me-First_TannerMy wife and I recently celebrated the birth of our first child. I may win the championship title for PROUDEST DAD—our little girl has already stolen my heart. I’m sure you know the feeling if you have children.

Even though it’s years away, I look forward spending my weekend days in folding chairs and on bleachers, watching my little girl learn to swing a bat at tee-ball and chase the checkered soccer ball around the field. Maybe she will even find a sport for which she exudes passion and decides to play in high school or college.

This week at the Supreme Court, oral arguments were given in a case (Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC) that could have disastrous implications for girls sports everywhere.

The specifics of the case deal with a transgender funeral home employee that filed a complaint with the EEOC after he was fired for violating company dress policy by dressing like a woman at funerals and meetings with grieving clients.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the funeral home director, redefining “sex” (a protected class under federal law) to include “gender identity.” If this redefinition is affirmed by the Supreme Court, unequal treatment on the basis of a person’s gender identity will now be prohibited under federal law, unmooring the concept of “sex” from any objective biological basis.

So how does this relate to girls’ sports? Under this scientifically indefensible interpretation of “sex” and “gender,” any effort to prevent biological boys from performing in girls’ sports would constitute legally prohibited “discrimination.”

Ask any student athlete, high school coach, or parent—allowing biological men to perform in girls’ sports unfairly puts biological girls at a competitive disadvantage. The size, strength, bone structure, lung volume, and heart supply of the average male far outpaces even the most elite female athletes, even after the biological male undergoes hormone therapy.

Allowing biological boys to participate in girls’ sports deprives our girls of opportunities for slots on teams, victories, and scholarships. Biological boys are already beginning to win athletic championships in many states.

Here in Idaho, a biological male can play in girls’ high school sports after undergoing hormone treatment for one year. Family Policy Alliance of Idaho calls on the state legislature to fix the loophole allowing boys to play in girls’ sports.

Legislation protecting fairness in sports would save girls’ sports for my daughter and yours. Until then, we will keep monitoring the Harris Funeral Homes case playing out in the Supreme Court. Please be praying for a positive outcome to this case.


This article was written for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho.


 

North Carolina Caves to Moneyed Interests, Abandons Women and Children

Carolina_DukeNorth Carolina legislators approved legislation repealing parts of HB2 yesterday.

HB2 was a common sense law that protected the privacy rights of women and children in schools and other government buildings by requiring that individuals only use restrooms and changing facilities consistent with their biological sex.

The repeal legislation, which is the result of a compromise between Democratic and Republican legislators, is designed to appease the NCAA, who threatened to prevent the state from hosting college sports championships unless the state repealed the contentious law.

In a press statement released after the passage of the legislation, NC Values Coalition President Tami Fitzgerald blamed state leaders for “letting down” North Carolinians:

“The truth remains, no basketball game, corporation, or entertainment event is worth even one little girl losing her privacy and dignity to a boy in the locker room, or being harmed or frightened in a bathroom.

“I hope that our state will learn from this and stand stronger in the future against the bullying and intimidation tactics of groups like the NCAA, the NBA, and billion dollar corporations who care more about their political, hypocritical agendas than the well-being and dignity of the people in our great state.”

The legislation passed yesterday repeals HB2’s prohibitions on individuals using the bathroom, changing facilities, and showers of their choice, regardless of biological sex.

However, it maintains HB2’s ban disallowing local governments from passing their own policies regarding private areas for three years.

HB2 was made necessary after the Charlotte City Council approved an ordinance forcing all businesses, schools, churches, and government buildings to allow individuals to use the bathroom, locker room, or changing facility of their choice, regardless of biological sex.

Ironically, the repeal legislation was opposed by both pro-family and liberal groups. Pro-family organizations view the deal as selling out the privacy of women and children to appease big business.

Liberal organizations like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Human Rights Campaign oppose the compromise because it maintains the three-year prohibition preventing local governments from setting their own policies.

Some companies and organizations threatened to leave the state and encouraged a boycott after the passage of HB2 last March.

Despite the boycott, tourism is “thriving” and business is “booming” in North Carolina, according to the Washington Times. The paper claims that North Carolina’s economy was generally unharmed by threats of boycotts and desertions.


This article was originally written for Family Policy Institute of Washington.

AMA Reconsidering Position on Physician-Assisted Suicide

american_medical_association_logoThe American Medical Association (AMA) will soon decide whether it will drop its stridently held position against physician-assisted suicide.

In June, the AMA asked its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs to reexamine the association’s disapproval of the practice. It plans to make a final decision during its 2017 national conference.

The AMA has long opposed physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, believing these practices to be “fundamentally inconsistent with the physician’s role as healer.” It most recently reaffirmed its opposition to physician-assisted suicide in the newest edition of its Code of Medical Ethics, which was adopted earlier this summer.

Other medical associations – including the California Medical Association, the Oregon Medical Association, and the American Medical Students Association – take a neutral stance on the issue of physician-assisted suicide.

A majority (54%) of American doctors support physician-assisted suicide, according to a 2014 Medscape survey of 21,513 American and European doctors.

Five states (Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, and Vermont) currently allow some form of physician-assisted suicide. In Washington State last year, there were 176 “participants” who received lethal medication from doctors to end their lives under the authority of the Washington Death with Dignity Act, according to state records.

Supporters of physician-assisted suicide are often motivated by misguided compassion. Arguments for physician-assisted suicide fail to recognize other more humane forms of treatment, as well as the inherent dignity and value of the terminally ill.

Instead of prescribing deadly drugs to end a patient’s life, physicians can more aggressively work to alleviate a patient’s pain and suffering through better palliative and hospice care.

Patients seeking physician-assisted suicide often suffer from depression and loneliness. This provides families and ministries with the opportunity to care for the dying, fulfilling intergenerational and communal duties by giving emotional support to terminally ill patients.

Physician-assisted suicide creates the perception that the terminally ill and elderly are burdens on their families and the medical system. It denies the most fundamental of rights – the right to life – and violates the basic principles of natural law and human dignity.

Life is an invaluable gift. Society looks to doctors for lifesaving medical care. The Hippocratic Oath, taken by physicians for millennia, dictates that they “do no harm.”

The American Medical Association should remain faithful to the oath taken by its members and reject efforts to change its position on this critical issue.


This post was originally published by the Family Policy Institute of Washington.

Seattle Children’s Hospital to Prep Children for Gender Transition

seattle_childrens_logoSeattle Children’s Hospital will open a clinic for transgender youth sometime in October.

Doctors trained in “transgender care” will provide puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone therapy, and mental health support to children struggling with their gender identity. The Gender Clinic will refer children seeking sex reassignment surgery to other medical providers.

The clinic, which is funded by a grant from the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority, will serve children between eight and 21 years old.

Seattle Children’s claims that treating transgender children early in life allows them to better integrate into society, despite growing evidence that treating gender dysphoria with puberty blockers and hormone therapies can irreversibly harm young children.

In a statement entitled “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” the American College of Pediatricians outlines the risks associated with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone therapies.

Puberty blockers prevent a child from beginning puberty. Children using puberty blockers find their growth and fertility inhibited, sometimes permanently. Their sexual organs never fully mature, leaving them deprived of the ability to reproduce and without the physical characteristics associated with either sex. Heartbreakingly, this can leave them feeling as if they belong to neither biological sex.

There are also health risks associated with these treatments. Puberty blockers decrease bone density and may hinder brain development. Cross-sex hormone therapy increases the risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer.

Dr. Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, likened these medical interventions to “child abuse,” noting that “close to 80% of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated.”

Other research summarized by the American Psychiatric Association suggests as many as 98% of boys and 88% of girls who struggle with gender dysphoria as children will no longer identify as the other gender after finishing puberty.

Troublingly, the majority of adolescents who will stop identifying as the other gender may be unable to revert to their biological sex if they received puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatments.

The American College of Pediatricians warns that “children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions.”

We agree. Activist doctors shouldn’t encourage children to undergo unnecessary and potentially harmful and irreversible medical treatments – and that’s exactly why the news about the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic is so concerning.

This post was originally published by the Family Policy Institute of Washington.

Why Schools Aren’t The Place to Learn About Gender Identity

classroomWashington State’s new health and physical education standards have provoked a strong backlash from parents and citizens who are outraged that children will be taught about gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation in elementary school. For example, children in third grade will now be taught that they can choose their own gender. Their fourth grade peers will learn about the spectrum of sexual orientation.

Astonished by what their children will be taught under the new standards, parents are left wondering whether public schools are the appropriate forum for dialogue about gender identity and sexual orientation – especially in elementary and middle school.

Parents should be concerned. The latest science supports what we used to regard as commonsense – that teaching very young students about gender identity and alternative sexual lifestyles could be a confusing and harmful experience for them.

The American College of Pediatricians warns against parents, doctors, and teachers encouraging children to undergo gender transition.  “Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies, will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to ‘gender clinics’ where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs.” The American College of Pediatricians likens the normalizing of transgenderism among children to “child abuse.”

Despite this, Washington’s public education system stands firmly behind its decision to push gender identity and gender expression on students as young as five years old, despite strong warnings from the medical community.

The vast majority of children who struggle with gender identity will eventually outgrow their confusion and accept their biological sex. According to statistics provided on page 455 of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5, as many as 98% of boys and 88% of girls who struggle with gender dysphoria as children will no longer identify as the other gender after finishing puberty.

Gender transition, which is promoted as the solution to gender dysphoria, is also dangerous. Cross-sex hormones present unsafe health risks for the individual undergoing transition. These hormone treatments increase the risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer. When children undergo cross-sex hormone therapy, their growth is often inhibited and their fertility is often irreversibly impaired.  The suicide rate among those who have undergone sex reassignment is twenty times higher than that of the general population.

Teaching gender identity and sexual orientation in schools normalizes the behavior. Once the behavior is normalized and students are told they can choose their own gender, we will undoubtedly see an increase in children pursuing harmful hormone therapies and irreversible gender reassignment surgeries.

If public schools rationalize gender dysphoria to young students, why are we to assume that more children won’t be subjected to the associated risks, as the statement by the pediatricians’ association suggests?  Children who would have otherwise never “struggled” with gender dysphoria may now be taught to question their own identity.

Teachers are rarely equipped to teach about topics relating to gender identity and sexual orientation.  Requiring them to teach this information may also cause them to violate their own beliefs.  Additionally, how can parents be sure that their convictions and values will not be undermined by what their children are being taught in school?

Schools should heed the warnings from doctors and researchers. Children are harmed when they are taught that alternative gender identities and sexual orientations are normal. Conversations with children about gender identity and sexual orientation should be left to parents and doctors, not schools.

This post was originally written for the Family Policy Institute of Washington: http://www.fpiw.org/blog/2016/06/07/opinion-why-schools-arent-the-place-to-learn-about-transgenderism/.