inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Rep. Scanlon Defends Sex-Change Procedures for Minors During Tense Committee Hearing

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.”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or


FLOWERS: I am Woman, Not Trans-Woman. Hear Me Roar

I’m not a feminist. I suppose I don’t even have to explain that to regular readers, but you never know if someone who just casually comes across one of my columns has that momentary thought of, “Oh, an immigration lawyer, a woman, kind of mouthy, yup, she’s a feminist.”

Aside from thinking that the label sounds more like a gastric condition than a revered identity, my biggest problem with the term is that it evokes troubling imagery of anger and resentment. Feminists are not happy people, despite the fact that they insist they are. There’s this idea that being unfettered by family obligations and traditional values frees us to be our best selves.  As the raven-haired daughter of Danny Thomas once told us, we are “Free to Be, You and Me (but not You, If You Vote the Wrong Way).”

​That being said, I find myself replaying Helen Reddy over and over in my head these days. “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” was a catchy tune that came out when I was in sixth grade at Merion Mercy, around the time that I was reading “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.” The latter was a rite-of-passage book about getting your period for the first time, and how it defined being a woman. In my mind, those two things are closely connected, the ability to give life, and identity as a female. Biology is very much a part of being a woman, in my book.

Not everyone reads my book of course. Lately, the trans movement has gaslighted everyone into believing that gender and sex are simply societal constructs that can be changed at will, and whim. I know there are folks who have studied the whole issue of gender dysphoria and think my worldview is woefully simplistic and, more importantly, cruel. I am fully aware that even broaching the subject of gender in the context of biological reality is likely to get me hate mail.

It’s happened before, it will happen again. No surprise there, and no real regrets because I refuse to say that up is down and white is black. If you have a penis, you are not a woman. If you do not have a penis, you are not a man. You might identify as one, and you have a right to be respected as a child of God no matter how you present to the world. You can even have your gender changed on your birth certificate, and live your life as whatever sex gives you serenity, and calms the demons in your troubled soul.

But you cannot erase an entire group of people because of your own desire to reconcile the disconnect between your brain and your body. Let’s be blunt.

Rachel Levine, born Robert Levine, is not a biological woman. She, and I will use the pronoun she prefers, is a trans woman who began life as a male. She has every right to call herself whatever she wants, and many of us can respect her choices and her desire to live her adopted identity. But in pretending that she is an actual woman as opposed to a societal construct of a woman, we are telling women who grew up wondering when their periods were going to start that they are not exclusive.

They are simply an option. In other words, you don’t have to go through all of the trauma and triumph of being a biological female if you want to be called a Woman of the Year, as Levine was recently named by USA Today. You don’t have to have spent your earlier years struggling to make it in a man’s world, or deal with actual gender discrimination, or sexual harassment, or all of the other things that are common in the female experience. You just have to one day come out as female and demand that the world accept you as such. Even if you had a nice run as a male, in a society that rewarded you for being “not female.”

And then there’s Lia Thomas, the biological male who stole a women’s swimming title from actual women. “Her” victory is an affront to every girl who got up in the dark, pre-dawn hours and did endless, tedious, soul-crushing laps, end to end, reaching toward the glistening brass ring. Instead, a social phenomenon grasped it, stole it, and smiled as others cheered. Devastating and infuriating at the same time. An assault on women.

For a woman who started out saying she’s not a feminist, I sound a lot like a feminist.  But I’m really not.  I’m more of a humanist, and by that I mean I find value in the human condition alone. I believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity regardless of any extrinsic labels. Women who achieve great things are simply people who have achieved great things. Men who take their daughters to school and feed them breakfast are simply great parents (as well as achieving one of the greatest things, nurturing a child.) Gender is irrelevant to accomplishment.

Except when society decides to make gender relevant to accomplishment, as when we elect “Woman of the Year.” In that case, and even though I’m not a fan of Women’s History Month and Women’s Studies syllabi and all that stuff, I think that the person being picked as an exceptional woman should actually be a woman.

You might say that trans women are women, and according to the most enlightened standards of society you would be right. But a man who decided he was actually a woman trapped inside of a man’s body is very different from a woman who did the heavy lifting all of her life and scaled a mountain in stilettos, and backward (with apologies to Ginger Rogers.) If you are going to reward womanhood, please find a woman.

The fair thing would be to have “Trans Person of the Year,” if we really want to make gender a part of accomplishment. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that, and I also believe it would honor trans individuals a lot more than lumping them in with the gender they ultimately embraced. After all, it takes courage to say that you are unhappy in your own skin, and then try and do something about it.

But you don’t get to erase me, a woman, because you did something about it. I am woman, and you damn well better hear me roar.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or


GIORDANO: Transgender Swimmer Tilts Playing Field Against Women on Team

Sports have always been a big part of my life. In the first grade, I started playing basketball in a South Philly CYO league and played in very competitive leagues well into my 40s. Sports appealed to me because of the competition, the thrill of winning, and learning how to deal with defeat.

The playing of sports was only surpassed, eventually, by the fun and thrill of coaching my sons in various sports. I also enjoyed seeing my five sisters play in CYO leagues and eventually at the high school and college levels. When they started, society was just beginning to realize the value of women’s sports in developing young women as teammates and leaders.

Therefore, when I see the controversy over transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas shattering women’s swimming records, I ask, isn’t anybody in authority going to step in and restore opportunity for women to compete fairly in their sport?

On my radio show last week, I asked that question of Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a three-time gold medalist and four-time medalist in swimming at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and now a civil rights attorney who is advising 16 Penn women’s team swimmers who recently drafted a letter that said they didn’t believe Thomas should be allowed to compete.

Hogshead-Makar told me women who objected to Thomas were told, “If they speak out, they will never get a job again.” In other words, their desire to have an even playing field would be seen as discriminatory and they would carry that stigma for a long time. Hogshead-Makar likened the situation American swimmers faced during her career when they faced East German women swimmers who were doping. She recalled that they were coached to be gracious losers.

Whether or not her comparison is completely correct, she is right that the other Penn swimmers can’t compete with Thomas.

She went on to clearly detail Thomas’ advantages. First, she pointed out that the average qualifying differential for NCAA swimming events is 11.4 percent faster for men. To put this in perspective, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps held just a .08 percent of an advantage over his U.S. teammates in the 100-meter butterfly in the 2004 Olympics. However, she points out, Phelps held a 12.62 percent advantage over the women’s gold medalist, Australian Petria Thomas.

Throughout my talk with Hogshead-Makar she repeated that she is not in any way anti- transgendered people. However, she thought the situation involving Thomas would only breed resentment. She wants sports to make space for transgendered athletes but not at the expense of opportunities for women.

The most compelling part of my interview with Hogshead-Makar was our discussion of what could be done to aid the Penn swimmers. We know that if they speak out publicly, they will be stigmatized now, and they will have difficulty with being hired in many situations in the future. She proposed a solution. She told me she is on a public and private campaign to get swimming icons, sports icons, and others to stand up for women in sports and particularly the Penn swimmers who object to Lia Thomas.

That would seem to be an easy thing to do, but I believe it will also take a lot of courage. Twitter and the rest of social media will not be kind to those who speak up for the women. I hope they also remind the University of Pennsylvania that they are not fulfilling their duty to protect female athletes and they shouldn’t posture that they are a place that truly wants to advance women.

Women athletes have come a long way, but this university is not continuing their progress.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or