A family physician says a bill in California supposedly designed to help foster children actually does the opposite.
Assembly Bill 2119, otherwise known as the transgender foster care bill, says that any foster child expressing any degree of gender-identity confusion (i.e., "transgender or gender nonconforming") should be strongly encouraged to pursue any and all treatments to affirm their chosen gender.
André Van Mol, MD is co-chair of the committee on adolescent sexuality for the American College of Pediatricians. "By this bill, the state of California is basically insisting, but strongly encouraging, that any foster child with gender identify confusion basically must be encouraged down a treatment pathway that is not proven safe, it is not proven effective," says the family physician, "and this is all being done for a condition that overwhelmingly goes away on its own by adulthood."
Goes away on its own?
"Children with gender dysphoria in the medical literature have what's called a 'desistance rate' – a rate of the condition going away on its own – of basically 80 to 95 percent," he explains. "So for the state to turn around and say, For the sake of reducing suicide attempts and helping kids better accept themselves and have better results, we absolutely must encourage them to get counseling and drugs and surgery – that's not proven long-term to help."
Van Mol has said as much to members of various committees, as well as to legislative staffers: "I told them, This isn't pro-science – it's no science."
He encourages Californians concerned about this measure to contact their state senators and tell them to vote against the measure. "They need to hear directly from their constituents that they oppose these bills and that they think it is not in the best interest of foster children," he continues. "In the case of [Assembly Bill] 2119, it's actually a harm to them."
Van Mol and his wife have been foster parents to nine children.