Republicans Admit Anti-Trans Laws Were Never Just About Protecting Children

Photo by Oriel Frankie Ashcroft.

As I write this, I am in the hospital for a kidney stone. I’ve had better Saturday nights, let me tell you. The pain meds have kicked in, and I’m really wishing I was sleeping in my own bed. I’m currently sitting in a chair because my wife is sleeping in the hospital bed. We were both squeezed into the little bed together, but it’s too hot in here and I can’t sleep anymore. So at least one one of us should get a little sleep.

I am feeling very grateful that I have insurance. Very grateful that I have a wife who will take me to the hospital when I say the dreaded words, “It’s a kidney stone.”

Before any of this started up this evening, I was already thinking of health care while reading an article by Erin Reed about a group of Republican lawmakers from Michigan and Ohio talking about gender-affirming care on Twitter spaces. Excuse me, X Spaces. The place where presidential campaign launches go to die.

The conversation reportedly started off about gender-affirming care for minors, but eventually became about how gender-affirming care should be banned for everyone, Reed writes.

In the discussion were Rep. Gary Click of Ohio and Michigan Representatives Brad Paquette, Josh Schriver and Tom Kunse, as well as Senators Jonathan Lindsey and Lana Theis, all Republicans.

You may recall Sen. Theis from when she sent out a fundraising email accusing fellow state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat, of wanting to “groom and sexualize kindergarteners,” because McMorrow and other Democrats walked out the Senate chambers when Theis issued a “prayer” that sought to protect children from “forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know,” a barely veiled anti-LGBTQ+ invective. McMorrow’s thunderous response to Theis went viral. And helped McMorrow raise over a million dollars which she used to help flip the Michigan Senate.  

Rep. Click sponsored the recent anti-trans care bill in Ohio. You know, the one Gov. DeWine vetoed only to turn around and slap transgender people with regulations that “go further than most transgender bans across the United States and could result in the mass closing of gender-affirming care clinics for transgender adults,” reports Reed. This includes targeting clinics with onerous and medically unnecessary regulations in order to shut them down.

This is straight out of the anti-abortion extremist handbook.

The Michigan lawmakers were apparently there to pick Rep. Click’s brain about how they could make Michigan a state that tells people to stop existing or die. Something that will not happen while Democrats have majority control. In fact, Gov. Whitmer just touted protections for LGBTQ+ people in her State of the State address in January.  

Rep. Click talked about targeting “Planned Parenthoods” because “they pass out hormones like candy.” (Fact check: No, they do not.)

“In terms of endgame, why are we allowing these practices for anyone?” Rep. Schriver asked at one point. “If we are going to stop this for anyone under 18, why not apply it for anyone over 18? It’s harmful across the board, and that’s something we need to take into consideration in terms of the endgame.”

Schriver went on to “compare it to consent for ‘self-mutilation’ and ‘euthanasia,’” according to Reed. “We have to be looking at the endgame simultaneously, maybe even using that to move the window to say that this isn’t just wrong 0-18, it’s wrong for everyone and we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen.”

Wait, so when Republicans said this whole right-wing transgender panic was about protecting children, they were being disingenuous? Shocking.

First it was bathrooms, then locker rooms, then drag queens (right-wing extremists do not see any difference between trans people and drag queens), then it was student-athletes, then it was pronouns, then it was gender-affirming care for minors, then it was all gender-affirming care for anyone.

Reed states it clearly: “The endgame of anti-trans legislation: the elimination of transgender people from public life entirely through the banning of care at any age.”

The good news? I’m about to be discharged by the hospital. My wife and I have barely slept. The next few days are going to be rough as I attempt to pass this stone.

I’d say wish me luck, but I would much rather you use that energy toward the transgender people who Republicans are willing to kill to advance their sick agenda. You’ve got to speak out against anti-trans hate. You’ve got to vote for people who aren’t transphobic extremists. And you’ve got to drink plenty of liquids. Or at least I do. But we could all probably stand to increase the amount of water we take in and decrease the amount of anti-trans bullshit we tolerate.

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living life with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter.