Bucknam: Opposition to H.659 has nothing to do with ‘hatred’

By Deb Bucknam

Ann D. Watson’s recent commentary in VTDigger on the LGBTQ+ bill (H.659) dismisses opposition as nothing more than Republican politicians engaging in “pure unadulterated hatred” of the LBGTQ+ community. She also makes the unsubstantiated claim that a recent murder of a transgender Vermonter was the result of some Republican politicians publicly opposing the bill.

The issues Ms. Watson is referring to deserve serious discussion. So let’s look at the facts.

Bucknam Law

St. Johnsbury Attorney Deborah Bucknam

The purpose of H.659 is outlined at the beginning of the bill. It states: “This bill proposes to allow a minor who identifies as transgender to consent to receiving hormone blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and treatment without requiring parental consent.”

The bill does not define minor. However, the term “minor” is defined throughout Vermont statutes as a child under the age of 18. In other words, the bill proposes that minor children of any age —even toddlers — could, under the provisions in this bill, receive life altering and often irreversible medical treatment without parental consent.

Gender affirming medical treatments are not without risk, as they involve the administration of estrogen to a biological male or testosterone to a biological female. According to Johns Hopkins Hospital, which provides non-surgical gender affirming therapy services, hormone replacement therapy to “minimize feminine characteristics and promote  masculinization … results in changes in voice and development of facial and body hair, sweat and odor patterns, increase in muscle mass, a redistribution of facial and body subcutaneous fat, frontal and temporal hairline recession and, possibly, male pattern baldness. Additional sexual effects may include an increase in libido, clitoral growth, vaginal dryness and cessation of menses.” Feminizing hormone therapy results in “breast development, reduction of muscle mass, reduction of body hair, reduction in erectile function, changes in libido, reduced or  absent sperm count and ejaculatory fluid, and reduced testicular size.”

These changes are profound for young persons who are legally unable to drive, live on  their own, work, or enter into a contract. Minors cannot make decisions about other types of medical treatment, school attendance, or even participation in sports activities. They need their parents’ consent. Yet there is no provision in the bill for legal oversight, second opinions, or any other guardrails to ensure these procedures are in the child’s best interest. “Best interest of the child” is the guiding principle in Vermont’s guardianship, family and  child protection statutes. This bill ignores that principle.

H.659 has other major flaws. There is no provision in the bill for notifying parents of the  treatments, so that parents do not even have the opportunity to weigh in on these decisions. It does not define “identifies as transgender,” or how that determination is made. The vagueness of this definition almost certainly will lead to serious consequences for children who have not as yet gained fully developed judgment or insight.

Surely such momentous decisions made by children need the advice and consent of the parents who love them. Despite Ms. Watson’s claims, Vermont GOP chair Paul Dame did not engage in “pure unadulterated hatred.” He merely stated that parents need to be involved in these decisions.

H.659 is based the assumption that parents do not have their children’s best interest at heart, or are too stupid or ignorant to know what is right for their kids. The bill compounds that error by assuming that any other adults — legal strangers — can encourage children to make these life changing decisions without any protective measures to ensure the children’s  best interest.

H.659 takes disdain for parents to a new level. It proposes to allow children of any age to make a decision that could change their health and their lives forever. And it provides no oversight for adults who encourage or support such decisions without parental knowledge or consent. Every Vermonter, no matter what political persuasion, sexual orientation or gender identity, should oppose this bill.

Deborah Bucknam is a Walden, Vermont lawyer practicing family, civil rights, personal injury and employment law for the past 43 years. She and her husband, Charles, have been married 56 years, and they have two daughters and 13 grandchildren. They have lived in Walden, Vermont since 1972.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Bucknam Law

16 thoughts on “Bucknam: Opposition to H.659 has nothing to do with ‘hatred’

  1. Physicians who administer medication to children in America without consent of the parents may be commiting assault. Separate from malpractice, treating a patient invasively without consent may be grounds for criminal charges. Such invasive treatment may be surgical or medical. Exceptions are made in emergencies where the patient is not competent to give consent, as in head injury or shock; and in cases where delay to obtain consent may result in risk to life or limb. Seems to me competency to give consent is also a feature of maturity; physical, psychological, and/or psychosocial.

    Given the above, how have Vermont children lost the protections other Americans have enjoyed for decades?
    Time for wisdom and leadership to step up bravely proclaiming undressed kings and queens are naked.

  2. Tougher measures are called for. So much is going on that is simply illegal.
    That being said, I’ve noticed that conservative people in VT tend to “preach to the choir”. Reaching people in their own group rather than people who take the “Progressive” stance but might feel differently if all facts were known.

  3. This is what happens when you pnly play defense. This is what happens when you don’t strategise against them when they have laid out their plns for all to see.

    We are played again just like Lucy does when she yet again, pulls the ball away from Charlie brown.

    With this they get to call you hateful, with this they get you calling democrats names.

    This is the Uniparty game being playe all the time. More division, more hatred, more tax dollars spent and the destruction of faith family and country continues.

    Offense. Can’t win any game when you onlylay defense.

    It’s like the famous joke. Why did you accuse him of sleeping with sheep? ” because I wanted to see him have to publically deny he sleeps with animals”

    This is the game they play. This is the trap we fall for.

  4. Follow the money. Money is put above the care and concern of humans especially our youth and elderly. Medical and pharmaceutical companies have huge stakes in the 4000% increase in identity confusion that has occurred in the last few years. The schools need to tend to academics and leave family conversations to families. Since when does the school
    become the master of all things children. There appears to be too many self created distractions and too little math and reading going on.

  5. If it takes a law to stop you from holding a classroom discussion with five-year olds about sex, you shouldn’t be a teacher. Actually, you shouldn’t be allowed near a school.

  6. Any other adult person who guides a minor child toward a goal involving sex would be arrested, charged with sexual abuse of a minor and required to register as a sexual deviant, but it’s okay for teachers and school administrators. There must be federal laws that forbid the taking of a minor child for gender experimentation and grooming. Perhaps it’s time to start requiring psychological testing for teachers, school administrators and legislators. This idea of taking control of children’s care concerning gender dysphoria and other childhood issues away from the parents is crazy. A comment I saw earlier had it right, hire or elect a group of clowns and you get a circus. A perfect description of the 3 ring circus in Montpeculier. Instead of solving problems of the state this legislature creates problems that are bizarre, out of the norm to keep the voter’s minds away from the climate change tax fiasco their railroading through the legislature.

    • This is good offense.

      Talk about de transitioning and watch their heads spin. Should schools and medical professionals be allowed to do this behind parents backs?

      Then expose who they truly want to have dominion over your child. The state.

      Demanding organic, free range, anti-biotic chicken, meanwhile filling your child by state mandate no less, no gym, terrible food, tell them drugs and alcohol, along with masturbation will solve your stress problems, force them to take experimental drugs AND LOCK THEM UP, CONFINE THEM.

      Much better life as a Misty knoll chicken

  7. My problem with the whole way of thinking that children have a right to choose their gender without parental interference is this: how are children equipped to distinguish between childhood dysphoria (the trials and tribulations and questions that arise simply from growing up) and gender dysphoria? The answer: there’s simply no way that even a young adult of 18 can sort things out enough and have enough perspective to be able to say: “yes, I’ve examined the situation and my insecurities are not the result of issues I’m having with classmates, teachers, and social situations that I’m struggling with, but they’re really the result of gender dysphoria.”

    But of course these children will be “guided” by those who have special insight into the child and their family situation, right?

    I don’t hate people who decide to become transgender, and my sense is that most of us simply leave these folks to their own lives: live and let live. But I’m beginning to hate these know-it-all folks who want to shove these “choices” down our children’s throats. It’s child abuse.

  8. The insanity continues and will until the legislature returns to a citizen model, like in the 50s.   Election after election for decades Republicans have run the same plan and as should be expected the results are pretty the same – the left maintains control. Why not try something new, like work toward rebuiding the citizen legislature by raising up a full slate of candidates that are committed to a 2-year budget and structuring the state such that it basically needs a 1-2 month session every other year, with at most a budget adjustment session in the off years if revenues to not align with expectations.   

    The only way to get the legislature to represent the people is to make it so it is truly representative of the people and that requires very efficient short sessions.   If you think about it a bit, there really are very few levers that need adjustment from one year to the next, if the state legislature was not being used mainly as a tool to shift our nation.    Focus on Vermonters and get in and out.   

    Imagine the hours a board meets to set the direction of a company with a budget the size of Vermont.  It is nowhere near as long because they generally stay the course of prior years.   And companies have to keep making new products for new markets.   Governments do not have near the changes as a company … unless the governments are allowed to control every aspect of the lives of the citizen.

  9. These grade school kids have not even reached puberty, how can they judge
    who / what gender they want to be?
    Jimmy want to wear a dress is not proof of anything lasting beyond childhood..
    It is none of the teacher or school nurses business to convert children chemically
    to some other kind of person.
    Nor should parents be customizing a childs gender, by any means, to suit their own desires !!

  10. Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier tells the story of those harmed by these politically motivated self-serving legislators that would vote for such a bill.

    Here is the link for the book on Amazon:


    Buy it, read it and pass it along. It is beyond time for adults to stand up and protect these young girls and women. This is a manufactured problem, pure and simple.

    • It’s laid out in the plan. They are purposely confusing the population about their sexuality.

      Yuri Bezmanov, soviet kgb, trained on subverting (taking over from within) nations.

  11. My word how off the rails people governing Vermont have become. To employ the notion that parents have no rights for their minor children mirrors the worst of socialist governments like China, Russia (in its older days – now it’s an oligarchy, but…). There are just example after example over the years of common sense governance thrown out the Sabra Fields window – poor Vermont.

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