State Rep. Ginny Ehrhart
GA State Rep. Ginny Ehrhart

State Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs doesn’t know what she doesn’t know about pediatric gender dysphoria. She doesn’t seem interested in finding out.

Ehrhart wants to make it a felony for medical professionals to help a minor with gender transition. My presumption is that she wants media exposure that will endear her to Christian conservatives who have a problem with trans people due to a conflict with scripture.

The measure is probably DOA — even in Georgia. But that’s not the point. According to Ms. Ehrhart, the legislation aims to protect children from having irreversible procedures done when they are young. She doesn’t really understand that young children do not receive “irreversible procedures.” Yet:

  1. Ms. Ehrhart wants to substitute her judgment for that of medical professionals and;
  2. Ms. Ehrhart wants to substitute her judgment for that of parents.

I wonder if Rep. Ehrhart has any religious views on pediatric chemotherapy. I am eager to learn from her.

Ah, but Ehrhart did consult with a physician

That doctor she consulted with is Quentin Van Meter. Van Meter is president of a tiny Christian organization located in Gainesville, Florida; The American College of Pediatricians which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. 2018 revenues were all of $137,951. The greater issue is that Van Meter has no experience in this area. He does not treat gender diverse children. Van Meter is an endocrinologist. He treats diabetes.

Rep. Ehrhart could have consulted with an expert in this field. She chose not to. If she had, she might learn that pediatric gender dysphoria is nearly as fatal as aggressive cancers and that the only known way of treating it is gender-affirmation. Not allowing a child and parents to consult with a psychiatrist (which would be impossible) could result in a child being in severe distress.

Imagine, for example, a trans boy who is not given access to puberty blockers as he enters puberty. He is going to grow breast tissue. Imagine his level of distress. A trans girl is going to accumulate male features. She will start to grow facial hair and her voice will deepen. This will create intense anxiety and depression with a significant potential for self-harm.

It is true that the effects of some cross-sex hormones are irreversible but those are not prescribed until the youth is about 16 years of age. They require the consent of the youth and their parents. The teen, at this point, has a team of medical professionals: An internist, a psychiatrist, a counselor, an endocrinologist and others. Who in hell is Rep. Ginny Ehrhart to interfere in medical treatment? She has a BA and currently runs a very small business (11 employees) selling home decor.

Clearly Rep. Ehrhart has not done her homework in advance of posing legislation. The fact that her measure would severely harm children seems less relevant to her than her religious views. Perhaps she can consult scripture for an understanding of arrogance.

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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.