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The transgender liability

Surprise veto shows that opposing trans radicalism is a political winner


California Gov. Gavin Newsom Associated Press/Photo by Rich Pedroncelli

The transgender liability
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This is what moral and, in a lesser sense, political winning looks like: California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s surprise veto of a bill that would have pushed judges to strip custody from parents who oppose gender ideology during custody battles. Newsom may be the most ambitious Democrat in the nation, and he just sent a huge signal that transgender radicalism is a political liability that his party should resist. The transgender movement has grown so extreme that progressive champions like Gavin Newsom are seeing where the winds are blowing.

Given his eager advocacy for the entire LGBTQ agenda, there is nothing principled about Newsom’s decision, which simply underlines why it is a triumph for opponents of radical gender ideology. The issue is becoming, simply, a political loser. Newsom did this for one reason—he wants to be president. He has been positioning himself as the Democratic candidate for 2028 and has concluded, apparently, that signing this dreadful bill would have imperiled his ambitions.

Enduring policy wins happen when one side decides to stop contesting an issue. Justice wins not because everyone on the other side has seen the light, but because their political leaders can feel the heat. Good triumphs when bad people with bad ideas nonetheless do the right thing out of political expediency.

Newsom’s veto does not mean that we have won the fight against transgender ideologues and their superstitious teachings that children are somehow being born into the wrong bodies. California’s government will keep pushing transgender ideology. It’s possibly, even likely, that California’s deep blue legislature could override Newsom’s veto. Trans activists still wield tremendous power throughout the many American institutions they have captured. However, the canny politicians among their allies recognize that the public is not on their side and that their radical agenda is a political loser.

They haven’t had to retreat in a long time. After winning on same-sex marriage, ideologues thought they would win forever, and they indulged and rallied behind their most bizarre elements. Instead of sticking with the “almost normal” campaign strategy that succeeded in selling same-sex marriage, they let their freak flags fly. This was a mistake on their part. In particular, the aggressiveness with which transgender ideology has targeted children and sought to divide them from their parents horrifies ordinary Americans. Even in an advanced state of decay that our culture is in, the natural law finds a way to reassert itself.

The toxicity of the extreme transgender agenda is a political opportunity for Republicans but also a cultural and spiritual one for Christians.

Transgenderism went from being a niche question of dealing with a tiny number of adults who wanted to pretend to be the other sex to something forced into virtually every classroom, with children being chemically sterilized and surgically mutilated—and the California legislature threatening parents who wouldn’t go along with this.

It is imperative to press the political and cultural advantage against this madness. Republican politicians who want to win need to criticize transgender ideology and legislate against its evils, such as prohibiting the castration of children uncomfortable with their natural bodies. The other side is running away, so we should keep after them lest they regroup and resume their offensive. Force Democrats (and wavering Republicans) to answer for why they want to sterilize kids and put men in girls’ locker rooms.

The toxicity of the extreme transgender agenda is a political opportunity for Republicans but also a cultural and spiritual one for Christians. The radical, obvious evils of transgender ideology have allowed us to make the case against the perverse understanding of human beings and society that leads to such wicked ends. The seductive promises of the sexual revolution are less alluring when their destructive results are clear—chopping healthy body parts off of troubled children and taking kids away from parents who object.

Christians must resist these clear evils and explain how they and other wrongs are the natural result of the sexual revolution and its hatred of restraints on our desires. When passions are not regulated in accordance with our nature as designed by God, they become both personally and socially enslaving and destructive.

The sexual revolution promised pleasure, fulfillment, and liberation. It has not kept its word. The sexual revolution promised to teach us to love and enjoy our bodies. It has culminated in telling children that they have been born into the wrong bodies and need to chemically and surgically modify themselves into sexually dysfunctional facsimiles of the other sex.

Against these miseries and monstrosities, Christians can set forth a sexual ethic that understands the true nature of the human person, one that promotes genuine human well-being. We can explain why real social justice requires an ethic of sexual restraint rather than indulgence. We must turn back transgender ideology not only politically, but also intellectually and spiritually, and also explain the goodness of God’s creation of us as male and female.


Nathanael Blake

Nathanael Blake is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.


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