Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) used her position on a key House committee to promote so-called “gender-affirming care” for minors, dismissing testimony from opponents as “far-right ideology.”
Scanlon’s passionate defense came during a recent meeting of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government featuring testimony from de-transitioner Chloe Cole, who calls herself a “victim of ‘gender-affirming care” (GAC). Swimmer Paula Scanlan, a University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team member who was forced to compete with biological male Lia Thomas, also spoke about her experience.
Scanlon rejected any criticism of GAC.
“Make no mistake, today’s hearing is not about protecting children’s or parents’ rights. It is a cynical and dangerous political attack on transgender children and their families. It is not driven by science or facts, but by polling and political strategists determined to mobilize conservative voters through fear,” Scanlon said in her opening statement.
GAC doesn’t have a uniform medical definition and can be used to describe treatments ranging from social affirmation to hormone administration/puberty blocking to mutilating surgeries such as mastectomies for teenagers.
The New York Times reported, “The treatments are relatively new, and few studies have tracked their long-term effects.” The available data have raised so many questions about the treatment that the American Academy of Pediatrics has “commissioned a fresh look at the evidence,” according to the Times.
Cole, who spoke at a No Left Turn in Education event in Huntingdon Valley in March, told her story to the committee on her 19th birthday.
Cole said she began experiencing gender dysphoria when she was 12, and her parents took her to doctors who advised hormones and puberty blockers. The medical professionals convinced her parents by asking them, “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a trans son?” Cole said.
“We became victims of gender-affirming care,” said Cole, whose breasts were removed at 15. By 16, she realized she had made a horrible mistake and wanted to be female. The medical professionals, who she is now suing, preyed on “an insecure teenage girl,” said Cole. She had thoughts of suicide after her surgery, not before.
“We need to stop telling 12-year-olds they were born in the wrong body,” said Cole. And “gender-affirming care” is a medical scandal.
Swimmer Paula Scanlan said that as a victim of sexual assault, having a “6-foot-4-inch tall biological male, fully intact with male genitalia” in the women’s locker room was extremely disturbing. University officials refused to listen to the women swimmers’ complaints and offered them “counseling” instead. The university said, “We, the women were the problem, not the victims. We were expected to conform, to move over and shut up.”
She expressed her concerns in an op-ed in The Daily Pennsylvanian, only to have it removed hours later, a violation of her First Amendment rights, she said.
Scanlan also noted that men are biologically stronger and are taking wins from women athletes.
“This is real,” said Scanlan. “I know women who lost roster spots and spots on the podium.”
“The University of Pennsylvania nominated (transgender swimmer) Lia Thomas as NCAA Woman of the Year. I find that very offensive,” she added.
Jennifer Baulwens, Ph.D. director of the Center for Family Studies with Family Research Council, told the committee several other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Finland, and Sweden, no longer allow surgeries and therapies to change children’s gender. She said 85 percent of cases of sexual dysphoria resolve by themselves if “left alone.” And 45 percent of those claiming to be transgender had previously experienced sexual abuse. As for the “suicidal claim,” it is “not supported by the literature.” Instead, a 10-year Swedish study showed a suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population after transition and that people may not regret it for five or more years.
In her opening statement, Scanlon said that “parents have the ultimate right” over their children’s healthcare.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) suggested they write a bipartisan bill affirming that children cannot undergo transgender medical care without the “informed consent” of their parents. He noted that some states, including California and Washington, now disregard parents’ opposition to that care and step in to have minors undergo it without parental permission.
But Scanlon backed off.
“I think you’re mischaracterizing the complete agreement,” she said.
McClintock said, “I thought we had arrived at that agreement until it comes down to doing it. Then you seem to have a change of heart.”
A parent of a transgender teenager and an LGBTQ-plus advocate testified that “gender-affirming” is necessary and is the medical standard in the U.S. Opposition witnesses swayed neither Democrat nor Republican committee members.
Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas), the father of two daughters, talked about substituting children’s judgment for parents, using a food pyramid with only ice cream as a food choice.
“This is ridiculous. I don’t care what party you’re a part of. If you think we’re all equally the same biologically, you literally lost your mind.
“And when my two daughters work hard in a sport, work hard in their craft to be the best that they can be amongst other women, they will compete against other women. I owe Victoria and Olivia and every other young lady in this country that.”