This letter is by Carol Kauffman, president of the Vermont Family Alliance.
Vermont legislators are set to expand Article 22, “personal reproductive liberty,” without voter approval or a day in court. Companion bills S.37 and H.89 will determine one model of care for a minor child who may be experiencing gender dysphoria. But parents must be free to find the individualized health care, transparency, and information that is necessary for them to direct the medical treatment that is best for their minor child beyond the one model of gender-affirming care.
Companion bills S.37 and H.89 define, “§ 150. LEGALLY PROTECTED HEALTH CARE ACTIVITY (a) “Gender-affirming health care services” means all supplies, care, and services of a medical, behavioral health, mental health, surgical, psychiatric, therapeutic, diagnostic, preventative, rehabilitative, or supportive nature relating to the treatment of gender dysphoria and gender incongruence. “Gender-affirming health care services” does not include conversion therapy as defined by 18 V.S.A. § 8351.”
Vermont law has determined a person under 21 years of age cannot purchase alcohol, cannabis, or cigarettes. Adults are prohibited from selling or furnishing these products to a person under 21 years of age. Every person in Vermont must show ID to purchase any of these products.
Just this session, the Vermont House of Representatives voted to raise the age to marry to 18 years of age and the Senate is expected to follow suit.
Yet, age protection for minors has been recklessly ignored in the committee regarding H.89 and S.37, along with parents’ rights to direct the medical care of their children.
H.89 in the Judiciary House Committee and S.37 in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee both neglected to bring in expert testimony on the adolescent brain and informed consent.
Expert testimony was not provided on the following grave concerns:
- The correlation between youth suicide studies and gender-affirming treatment;
- Phalloplasty, in which girls’ forearms are stripped of muscle and skin to create a fake penis that doesn’t function.
- Castration and “penile Inversion Vaginoplasty,” in which boys’ penises are cut off and a wound is created to simulate a vagina. These wounds must be kept forcibly open as the body attempts to close the hole for life.
- Mastectomy and “Top Surgery,” in which incisions are made below the breasts and muscle, fat, and glands are removed.
- Feminizing/Masculinizing Hormone Therapies, in which teenagers are given heavy doses of estrogen and testosterone as well as experimental doses of other hormones to simulate levels of reproductive and stabilization hormones normally present in the opposite sex.
Until now, the State of Vermont has never dictated the mental and medical health choices for the residents of Vermont. H.89 and S.37 exclusively protect the “gender-affirming” care model, while prohibiting all other gender care options as “conversion therapy.”
Dr. Kenneth Zucker would be deemed a “conversion therapist” in Vermont. He has been long acknowledged as a foremost authority on gender identity issues in children. Zucker believes that gender-dysphoric pre-pubertal children are best served by helping them align their gender identity with their anatomic sex. This view ultimately cost him his 30-year directorship of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
Susan and Marcus Evans would also be “conversion therapists” under H.89 and S.37. They are the authors of Gender Dysphoria: A Therapeutic Model for Working with Children, Adolescents and Young Adults.
“It’s another matter to start interfering with a healthy body. One would want to think very carefully before you do that,” states Marcus Evans.
Should the Vermont State Government dictate and direct the care of minors as protected in H.89 and S.37?
The Vermont Family Alliance objects to the very title of these bills “Legally protected Health Care Activity.”