Commentary

Bucknam: H659 supporter wrong about GOP ‘pure hatred’

by Deb Bucknam

Ann Watson’s recent commentary in VTDigger on the LGBTQ+ bill (H.659) dismisses  opposition as nothing more than Republican politicians engaging in “pure unadulterated  hatred” of the LBGTQ+ community. She also makes the unsubstantiated claim that a recent murder of a transgender Vermonter was the result of some Republican politicians publicly opposing the bill.  

Deb Bucknam

The issues Ms. Watson is referring to deserve serious discussion. So let’s look at the  facts. The purpose of H. 659 is outlined at the beginning of the bill: It states: “This bill  proposes to allow a minor who identifies as transgender to consent to receiving hormone  blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and treatment without requiring  parental consent.”  

The bill does not define minor. However, the term “minor” is defined throughout  Vermont statutes as a child under the age of 18. In other words, the bill proposes that minor  children of any age—even toddlers—could, under the provisions in this bill, receive life altering and often irreversible medical treatment without parental consent.  

Gender affirming medical treatments are not without risk, as they involve the  administration of estrogen to a biological male or testosterone to a biological female.  According to Johns Hopkins Hospital, which provides non-surgical gender affirming therapy  services, hormone replacement therapy to “minimize feminine characteristics and promote  masculinization…results in changes in voice and development of facial and body hair, sweat  and odor patterns, increase in muscle mass, a redistribution of facial and body subcutaneous  fat, frontal and temporal hairline recession and, possibly, male pattern baldness. Additional  sexual effects may include an increase in libido, clitoral growth, vaginal dryness and cessation  of menses.” Feminizing hormone therapy results in “breast development, reduction of muscle  mass, reduction of body hair, reduction in erectile function, changes in libido, reduced or  absent sperm count and ejaculatory fluid, and reduced testicular size.” 

These changes are profound for young persons who are legally unable to drive, live on  their own, work, or enter into a contract. Minors cannot make decisions about other types of  medical treatment, school attendance, or even participation in sports activities. They need  their parents’ consent. Yet there is no provision in the bill for legal oversight, second  opinions, or any other guardrails to ensure these procedures are in the child’s best interest.  “Best interest of the child” is the guiding principle in Vermont’s guardianship, family, and  child protection statutes. This bill ignores that principle. 

H.659 has other major flaws. There is no provision in the bill for notifying parents of the  treatments, so that parents do not even have the opportunity to weigh in on these decisions. It does not define “identifies as transgender,” or how that determination is made. The  vagueness of this definition almost certainly will lead to serious consequences for children  who have not as yet gained fully developed judgment or insight. 

Surely such momentous decisions made by children need the advice and consent of the  parents who love them. Despite Ms. Watson’s claims, Vermont GOP chair Paul Dame did  not engage in “pure unadulterated hatred.” He merely stated that parents need to be involved  in these decisions.  

H.659 is based the assumption that parents do not have their children’s best interest at  heart, or are too stupid or ignorant to know what is right for their kids. The bill compounds  that error by assuming that any other adults—legal strangers– can encourage children to  make these life changing decisions without any protective measures to ensure the children’s  best interest.  

H.659 takes disdain for parents to a new level. It proposes to allow children of any age to  make a decision that could change their health and their lives forever. And it provides no  oversight for adults who encourage or support such decisions without parental knowledge or  consent. Every Vermonter, no matter what political persuasion, sexual orientation, or gender  identity, should oppose this bill.

The author is a Walden, Vermont lawyer practicing family, civil rights, personal injury and employment law for the past 43 years. She and her husband, Charles, have been married 56 years, and they have two daughters and 13 grandchildren. They have lived in Walden since 1972. She is also a former GOP candidate for statewide office.

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13 replies »

  1. Well said, Deb! It is no coincidence that while schools across the state are inserting gender affirming curricula in as young as Pre-k (that’s most definitely you, EWSD), the state legislators are trying to slide a bill like this through.
    They are after your children, and most Vermonters will watch as they do so, hoping that if they keep their heads down, maybe they’ll be overlooked.

  2. Any legislator that might consider voting for this bill H659 should be immediately sent home

  3. An abomination perpetrated on student sna parents alike.
    Can the student or the parent order the same procedures against a teacher?

    What brought this power pay to the fore? Parents can’t do this without Doctor supervision – and why would they?

    Here we have the teacher and a school nurse ordering life Atering, body
    and mind altertation of someone elses’s children body and life.

    Woke, political correctness, only authority knows best, or EVIL INTENT!!

    Looks like the way Hitler treated Jewish prisoners.

  4. Excellent commentary, Deb! This bill demonstrates extreme hostility to the concept of parenthood, and the accusation that Paul Dame’s recent comments demonstrate transphobia simply expose the warped worldview of some advocates, political operatives, and members of the media.

  5. Has this been published in VT Digger? It should be. They may have a legal obligation to publish opposing political views.
    Hormone blockers have even more harmful effects than mentioned in the article.

  6. A child’s right to medical treatment should not include unnecessary or potentially life altering changes based on social constructs and their desire within those constructs. We all have experienced and witnessed cultural phases of development with children. To say that a child has the reasoning and forethought of such consequences, and should ‘have the right’ to this kind of treatment for medical freedom is such nonsense. The distinguishing factor is necessity to indemnify them medically, or improve their wellness. This treatment does neither, and should be illegal unless their is a non-cognative reason for doing so. Thank God I did not get that tattoo I wanted when I was 14! I loved my dog, but my judgement to recieve a tattoo of him would have been highly regrettable. 😄
    Liberals are always talking about eugenics as a great tragedy and consequence of social wrongdoing…look what you are doing to society? Feels a bit like a social experiment to me.

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