Bigots and liars forfeit a seat at the adult table. Trans kids are already fragile and vulnerable without Mat Staver’s religious gibberish.

Mat Staver
Mat Staver does not approve of LGBT people. The subject of trans youth drives him into a rage

Monday, according to an email from hate group leader Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel: California Bill Assaults Foster Children!. That is a lie. The hyperbole is proffered because Staver does not approve of transgender children. He does not offer alternatives to mitigate the symptoms of gender dysphoria because his disapproval is based on scripture, not medical science.

Scientific research published to respected peer-reviewed journals continues to confirm that gender affirmation allows children with gender dysphoria to have levels of anxiety and depression at normal or near-normal levels. More of those results are likely forthcoming. Withholding gender affirmation puts those same children at considerable risk for self-harm. In short they would be forced to suffer due to Staver’s warped notion of religious duty.

Mat Staver doesn’t care. His god does not approve and that settles it. Apparently God is in the business of licensing fabrications in the service of Christian Supremacy. Staver’s many falsehoods are so preposterous that it becomes clear that Staver thinks that his audience is composed of imbeciles. Perhaps it is. For example, according to Mad Mat (in the same email):

The California bill AB 2119, which forces puberty-blocking drugs and “sex change” operations on foster children, will go to the Senate Human Services Committee tomorrow.

No child has ever or will ever be forced to received puberty blockers or gender affirming surgery. I can safely generalize that gender dysphoric kids, themselves, are fiercely determined to be treated according to their gender. Were that not the case, common sense dictates that they would not be gender dysphoric in the first place.

Furthermore, Mad Mat completely eliminates the medical professionals who evaluate and treat these children. Staver goes further into the weird world of upisdownism:

AB 2119 mandates that foster children with gender dysphoria can only be treated with puberty blocking drugs, “sex change” operations and counseling that affirms their gender confusion. The bill specifically prohibits any individual from “subjecting a foster child or non-minor dependent to any treatment, intervention, or conduct that seeks to change the foster child’s or non-minor dependent’s gender identity.”

Once again, “gender confusion” is Christian-confusion. The term does not exist in science. Gender dysphoric kids are most certainly not confused. To suggest otherwise is an attempt at delegitimizing the sound scientific concept of gender. According to the bill’s legislative digest, Staver is partially correct:

The bill would prohibit a licensed professional, or any other individual, from subjecting a foster child or nonminor dependent to any treatment, intervention, or conduct that seeks to change the foster child’s or nonminor dependent’s gender identity.

In other words the bill prohibits conversion therapy. In point of fact, a scientifically proven method of changing someone’s gender identity does not exist. Mad Mat does not care. He has to appease his god which means that children must suffer at his god’s will as interpreted by … Mr. Staver.

Furthermore, not all children with gender dysphoria will receive puberty blockers. Clinicians can evaluate the severity of the condition and the child’s resolve. Staver would substitute his judgment for that of highly trained medical specialists. It is no less absurd than Staver insisting on a treatment for leukemia based upon ancient chronicles! Staver does not know what the hell he is talking about.

Furthermore, Mad Mat also presumes to be a social worker. Transgender and gender nonconforming children in foster care have already been victimized (often by parents). They are at higher risk for substandard medical outcomes. It is hard enough being transgender or gender nonconforming without the added stress of ignorant foster parents.

Staver’s promotion of ignorance concludes with this. I am leaving the links intact while adding numerical indicators to them:

Medical research has verified that gender dysphoria is a psychological issue [1] and puberty blockers [2]  and “sex reassignment” surgery [3] are not the answer. In fact, a staggering 41 percent [4] of “transgender” people in the United States have attempted to commit suicide which is more than 25 times the rate of the general population. Among “transgender” people ages 18-44, the suicide attempt rate is 45 percent, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Medical research has not “verified that gender dysphoria is psychological issue.” Staver doesn’t cite any medical research to support his assertion. Rather, link 1 is to a story at the Christian site, CNSnews. It represents the opinion of one doctor who aired his views to oppose a Canadian nondiscrimination bill and is not based on a study.  Link 2 is to a post at a conservative Christian blog that pretentiously calls itself a journal (New Atlantis). The article was obviously not subjected to peer review. Link 3 is to a piece in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly. Need I say more?

Link 4 is to a report by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in conjunction with the Williams Institute. I only wish that Mr. Staver would read it in full. He has not and will not. The issue of suicide is complex and affects different populations differently. For example the risk is elevated with less education or lower socioeconomic status. It is also significantly higher among Native American transgender and gender nonconforming people.

People like Mat Staver are responsible for much (if not most) of the stress that transgender people endure. Eliminate that stress and stop the discrimination and then trans people are less likely to suicide.

Staver is suggesting that preventing children from being transgender will lower the rate of self-harm. That is counter-intuitive. The research demonstrates that gender affirmation reduces anxiety and depression. Therefore, it reduces the potential for self-harm.

Mad Mat doesn’t care about any of that. He is a religious extremist and Christian Supremacist. His viewpoint if formed accordingly. People who really care about what is best for children put those kids ahead of self-interests. Staver is incapable of doing so.

Related content:

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.