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Democratic parents left behind

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WORLD Radio - Democratic parents left behind

California bills to give children access to transgender procedures without parental consent alienate parents


California Rep. Adam Schiff and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi wave during a Pride Parade in San Francisco on June 25. Noah Berger via The Associated Press

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: Democrats divided over transgenderism for kids.

On Friday, California added three more states to its sponsored travel-ban list. California’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, said in a statement that Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming have joined 21 other states putting transgender youth in harm’s way.

How? By requiring children to play on sports teams that align with their biological sex…and by preventing them from accessing hormone injections and surgical procedures. Such laws, according to AG Bonta, “contradict the values of inclusivity and diversity.”

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: But not all Democrats in California agree inclusivity and diversity require promoting life-altering interventions. Some life-long Democrats are worried that leaders are pulling the party into dangerous territory, and leaving parents out of the conversation.

REICHARD: One of those Democratic parents is Erin Friday. She’s a licensed attorney and co-lead of OurDuty-USA, an international group of parents and advocates committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults from gender ideology.

A quick disclaimer before jumping in: Erin supports same-sex marriage and describes herself as non-religious. But her perspective offers helpful clues for understanding what’s happening in California, and what might be next.

BROWN: With that, good morning, Erin!

ERIN FRIDAY: Thank you so much for having me on your show.

BROWN: Thanks for being here. I know you're a parent, and this is personal for you. Are you at liberty to talk about why?

FRIDAY: Yes. My daughter came out as a transgender boy right before ninth grade. Ninth grade started over the pandemic, and that was my first entry point to understand how pervasive the transgender ideology is in our public schools, and how the internet, uh, is pushing this agenda on these kids to, and how it really goes after the kids who are vulnerable. Not one of the children in our parent group, and I deal with thousands. Not one of these children don't have a comorbid mental health issue. And we're taking these kids who are depressed and anxious with ADHD, OCD, um, autism, and we're telling them that their distress will disappear if they just transition. And these are just lies. This ideology is attacking the most vulnerable kids.

BROWN: Erin, you're also a Democrat living in California. You’ve said you’re not religious or part of a right-wing movement. But you are concerned about what the party leadership is doing to your party. The Democratic party updated its platform to include a guarantee that Americans have full access to “hormone therapy” and “gender confirmation surgery.” Now, if the media is to be believed, most Democrats don’t have a problem with gender fluidity and different sexual identities. How would you respond to that?

FRIDAY: Well, I can't speak for all Democrats, but I can say that most democratic families in California are opposed to gender affirmative care on minors and young adults. What they are opposed to is pumping young children with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries, and the Democratic party in California wants to ignore the masses of parents that are now showing up at these hearings and voicing their concerns about what is being taught to their children, both at school and then being foisted on them through laws and required, uh, of medical providers that they just merely affirm these gender identities. If we go back in time, there was no such thing as a trans child. This is a new terminology. There were kids that were gender confused, but there were not trans children. And we have to unravel that first and foremost, no child can be born in the wrong body. This is very different from a child being same sex attracted. These two things are very different.

BROWN: Let’s talk about what California is doing right now. Back in June, the State Senate passed Assembly Bill 665 that would expand on a law allowing children ages 12 and up to get mental health counseling without parental consent. Fact-checkers from Reuters and AP have been quick to say this bill is not about removing kids from parents who oppose transgenderism, but you have said it’s not so benign. What’s going on here?

FRIDAY: There's nothing benign about this bill. Even if we take it out of the transgender milieu, 665 says that a 12 year old in conjunction with a mental health provider or even an administrator can go into a residential shelter without any provocation. That means even if the child is not in, in danger at home for abuse or self-harm or harm to others, that 12 year old and that sixth grade can be moved into a residential shelter without any parental consent and no due process to the parents. Now, in the realm of transgenderism, the way this is going to work is that if a child is gender confused and goes to their school counselor and says, I'm trans and I don't think my parents are going to be happy about that, that school counselor can say, well, why don't we send you to this shelter? And this child can be whisked off to a residential facility again with no parental knowledge, and those parents will have to get that child back. It's a massive infringement on parental rights, and it's assuming that all parents are horrible humans, and that if a child comes out as trans, that these parents are going to not only reject their child, but abuse them. And that's just not the case, especially here in California. Look, we don't care if our children come home and tell us that they're gay, we're over that. We will love our children even more if they tell us that they are gender confused. It's a terrifying bill. And in conjunction with another bill, which is AB 957, which is redefining the health, welfare and safety of a child, to be that a parent must affirm the gender identity of the child.

BROWN: Erin, you mentioned earlier that parents are showing up to hearings voicing their concerns about this legislation. How have lawmakers and the media responded?

FRIDAY: That's a very interesting question. So the lawmakers are dismissing us. They're acting as if we're not there. They're disbelieving us. They even, you know, essentially call us liars when we tell them what is happening at our schools and what books are being read to our children. And that c p s is Child Protective Services is showing up at our houses. If we do not affirm our kids, they're disbelieving detransition who come in and say, I went to Planned Parenthood, and after a 30 minute visit with no mental health assessment whatsoever, I walked out with syringes of testosterone. They're, they're disbelieving us.

BROWN: Zooming out a bit, what are you seeing in other states that you think could provide a template for protecting children from these life-altering procedures…and do you see a path forward for bringing some of those protections home to your state?

FRIDAY: Well, the, uh, Republican states have been passing bills to ban gender interventions on minors, and I think that's a huge step. I think now there's over 20 states that have done that, and that needs to continue, and it needs to happen in California. I am somewhat optimistic for the first time in two years since I've been doing this, the, some of the democratic legislators are, are listening. They're asking more questions than they ever did before. So I'm hopeful that eventually we'll turn this ship around in California, which is a must. California started this, it needs to end in California. Otherwise it will keep regrowing and regrowing. I know people say, flee California, you need to just get out of there, but we can't. We actually have to kill it in California, so it doesn't keep spreading.

BROWN: Erin Friday is a licensed attorney and co-lead of OurDutyUSA. Erin, thank you for joining us.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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