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A new law in California that's aimed specifically at foster children ostensibly seeks to protect vulnerable children. But allowing 12-year-olds to choose their gender – which that law permits – isn't protection: it's abuse.
Caution: This article contains descriptions that some may find offensive.
Most 12-year-olds are just beginning to move past the stage of playing with dolls or Tonka trucks. They are entering – gradually and sometimes grudgingly – a new phase of life: adolescence. Typically they're are on the cusp of some dramatic physical, mental, and sociological changes. They are just beginning to comprehend that they can be individuals, apart from their parents. But don't throw away those dolls or Tonka trucks just yet – the transition can be long and complex.
However, if you are a 12-year-old foster child in California, forget the Barbies and the Tonkas, because you are about to enter the world of adult decision-making. Thanks to AB 2119 – a bill recently passed into law by California's majority Democratic policymakers – children as young as 12 will now be able to "privately seek and consent to outpatient mental health counseling and treatment" that includes treatment for gender transitioning.
In other words, little 12-year-old Billie, who was playing with her dollies yesterday, now has the unencumbered authority to choose for herself to begin the process of becoming "William." The state of California has granted Billie – and all other 12-year-old kids within its jurisdiction – nearly utter autonomy in their gender choices. Any adolescent need only convince a licensed medical practitioner that he or she is she or he, so to speak.
In broader terms, the new law – aimed specifically at foster children – ostensibly seeks to protect vulnerable children. It states, in part, "It is the policy of the state that all minors and non-minors in foster care shall have the following rights:
(1) To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where he or she is treated with respect.
(2) To be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other abuse, or corporal punishment."
Who would argue against the rights of foster children to be safe and free from abuse? The problem is not in the law's fundamental provisions: to keep foster kids safe. The problem is in the sub-provisions. Liberals assume that a key element in keeping these kids safe is allowing them to choose their own gender. But is an adolescent who still keeps his Teddy bear named Jimmy in his closet because he's still transitioning from child to adult ready to make an irreversible, life-changing decision about transitioning from his birth gender?
Yes, these decisions are often irreversible. As stated in Protect Children: Vote NO on AB 2119, by the American College of Pediatricians: "The vast majority of gender dysphoric children affirmed as the opposite sex go on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are permanently sterilized as a result."
Should a 12-year-old be allowed to make a decision that might cause him or her to be permanently sterilized?
Granted, some foster homes are less than ideal, and kids living in them need to be protected. But allowing those kids to choose for themselves – apart from the counsel of a legal guardian – goes beyond protection. And remember: this autonomy for adolescents is in a state where the public-school sex-education curricula offers lessons on "Improving Female Satisfaction" and "Postponing Male Ejaculation," includes specifics on which lubricants to use for intercourse, and recommends the transgender-promoting book called I Am Jazz.
Coupling graphic lessons on "safe-sex" and transgenderism with laws allowing children to choose their gender – an often irreversible procedure – is not protection: it's abuse. Children who are still transitioning from childhood to the adult world are not ready to discuss transitioning from their God-chosen birth gender to the opposite sex.
It's high time that we – responsible adult voters – transition from office the "progressive" lawmakers who authored this bill and made it law.
Denise Shick is the founder and executive director of Help 4 Families, a Christian ministry that compassionately reaches out to family members and brings understanding of the emotional and spiritual issues that families face when a loved one is gender-confused. She is the author of several books, including "My Daddy's Secret," "When Hope Seems Lost," and "Understanding Gender Confusion – A Faith Based Perspective."
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