Intense clash among Ohio and Michigan Republicans over the prohibition of trans healthcare

Several Republican legislators from Michigan and Ohio were filmed in an internet forum discussing their plans to outlaw transgender health care for all people, regardless of age.

State Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles) led the debate on the X social media platform, which included Reps. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) and Tom Kunse (R-Clare), as well as state Sens. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) and Jonathan Lindsey (R-Coldwater). Other speakers were Ohio state Rep. Gary Click, who sponsored the state’s restriction on gender-affirming care, and Michigan anti-trans activist Prisha Mosley.

According to independent journalist Erin Reed, the senators openly express their opposition to the trans community, specifically any form of transsexual care for adults.

“In terms of endgame, why are we allowing these practices for anyone?” Schriver asked. “Why would we prohibit this for anyone under 18 but not for anyone above 18? It’s damaging across the board, and I believe that’s something we should consider in terms of the endgame.”

Intense clash among Ohio and Michigan Republicans over the prohibition of trans healthcare

Click, whose bill would similarly prohibit transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in Ohio, termed Schriver’s comment a “very smart thought” and offered guidance to Republican legislators trying to criminalize gender-affirming therapy.

“I think sometimes what we know legislatively is that we have to take small bites,” said Click, who then applauded Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s limits on transgender adult clinics.

“The other thing is Planned Parenthood. “They pass out hormones like candy; he’s put an end to that,” said Click. “That’s one of the places a lot of adults go.”

DeWine imposed the restrictions as an alternative when he vetoed Click’s bill. However, the Ohio Assembly overrode the veto, and effective of April 23, the state would prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary adolescents, including hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), medical or surgical procedures, and some mental health services.

Despite the fact that major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Endocrine Society have all determined that age-appropriate gender-affirming care is evidence-based and medically required.

Furthermore, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), an international association of health professionals, has long declared that age should not be an impediment to giving care to persons experiencing gender identity challenges.

If there are persistent and strong indications that gender dysphoria is present, a comprehensive evaluation by clinicians skilled in the assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria is essential, irrespective of the patient’s age,” reads the Standards of Care (SOC) of WPATH.

Schriver shifted the debate back to finding a means to prohibit any gender-affirming care, which he equated to “essentially consenting to mutilation, consenting to self-harm; consenting to kill yourself.”

“I’m just saying, moreover, in addition to that, we have to be looking at the endgame simultaneously,” he went on to remark. “You could even use that to move the window and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t just wrong for 0 to 18.'” This is bad for everyone, and we should not allow it to happen.

Click then explained that reporters had asked him if he regretted that bans like his on gender-affirming care for adolescents in Ohio had the effect of closing down gender clinics that serviced adults.

“No, I’m actually pretty happy about it,” he told me. “I don’t think they ever printed what I said, but sometimes we simply have to take one bite at a time, doing things gradually. When you combine everything into one pot, it becomes more difficult to pass legislation. So remove a bite-sized chunk of it.”

Theis discussed legislation in Michigan that she claimed was “trying to undermine” humanity, such as the newly imposed ban on conversion therapy, which she deemed “antithetical to their chromosomal true biology.”

That claim is contradicted by major health organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, which has rejected conversion therapy since 1998 and states on its website that “gender diverse patients have been shown to benefit from gender-affirming therapies.”

Furthermore, The Trevor Project’s research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that LGBTQ kids who were subjected to conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide as their counterparts who did not undergo conversion therapy.

Theis also reiterated a commonly used, but disproved, argument against Proposal 3, which passed decisively in 2022 and cemented the right to abortion in Michigan’s constitution.

“What that means is that these children can have abortive services or transition services without parental knowledge,” she went on to say. “They’ve got three days to get it done, and we can show over and over how it’s not necessary. There’s even an interview where they just go ahead and give you permission to get hormonal therapy … cross-sex therapy.” “It’s horrific.”

At the end of the session, Schriver argued that when it comes to gender-affirming care, they should “ban this for all people.”

“We’ll talk about it offline,” said Paquette, who also thanked Click.

“Let’s be in touch, as well, if you don’t mind, so we can make sure that Michigan can follow Ohio’s lead,” he went on to say.

The Michigan Advance has requested all of the Michigan legislators involved in the call for comment, but none have yet answered.

However, Democrats and other progressives have taken note.

State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) shared a link to the conversation on social media, stating that former Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon “and the entire culture war slate of the GOP lost in stunning fashion because they would rather attack kids than focus on issues like affordable housing.”

Meanwhile, Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan, published a statement regarding the conversation.

“The lengths to which Republican lawmakers have been willing to go publicly in their campaign to demonize, victimize, and isolate trans people are already despicable, but the comments made on this call go even further,” he went on to say. “Gone are the flimsy and veiled comments—now, they’re admitting to their real intention: stripping away trans people’s fundamental right to pursue the care that’s right for them.”

Inglot stated that the discussion demonstrated that the GOP’s resistance to trans health care was not based on the surgeries themselves.

“It’s about the hate, bigotry and cruelty that drives right-wing extremists, to the point where they would rather see trans people suffer than simply let them exist,” said Inglot, who claimed he will “fight tooth and nail to protect their rights and lives.”

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