John Stemberger
Hate Group Leader John Stemberger, circa 2017 | via

Tuesday, an email titled Parental rights are evaporating… is signed by John Stemberger on behalf of his Florida Family Policy Council. FFPC defines “family” as the result of a marriage between a white, heterosexual, cisgender, conservative Christian man and a white, heterosexual, cisgender conservative Christian woman.

In a sense the profoundly bigoted John Stemberger is correct about parental rights evaporating.

In Arkansas, parents no longer have the right to determine what medical care their adolescent offspring will receive if their child is suffering with gender dysphoria. Texas and other states are considering similar measures.

In Arkansas, and other states, if enacted, the government will have pre-determined a course of treatment (actually non-treatment). Parents have no rights whatsoever. Legislators who are not doctors make these decisions. Their decision, made in advance and with no personal knowledge, cannot be challenged or appealed. The legislated decision is final.

Never mind that parents make very difficult decisions. Never mind that, if they could choose gender-affirming care, it would presumably be the result of medical advice, possibly based on the Clinical Practice Guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Never mind that a child’s very life is at risk.

In Texas, an accountant and an insurance salesman are the key drivers of a measure that could remove parental rights as they would apply to medical care. Yet, in most states, parents have the right to subject their children to the pseudoscience of toxic conversion therapy.

Speaking of toxicity and getting back to Mr. Stemberger, he is promoting an anti-LGBTQ parental rights bill, HB-241. If enacted, kids would no longer have privacy rights when they meet with with school counselors or any behavioral health professional, in or out of school. The loss of privacy could deter a troubled student from seeking counseling.

Another problem with the measure that Stemberger is touting is that any information related to AIDS or HIV is classified as instruction in sexuality. AIDS is the only sexually transmitted disease which carries this distinction.

Apparently, a condition associated with gay men is different from all other similarly contracted conditions. There are no references to chlamydia, genital herpes, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B and so on.

Bills like these are based, in part, on the false premise that if parents know that their kid might be gay or trans, the parents can somehow prevent the disapproved sexual orientation or gender identity.

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.