The U.S Department of State released a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan that says it is seeking to “assess resources for gender dysphoria and gender transition care at posts for employees and their dependents,” a move that suggests the department may be looking to taxpayer funding to expand such treatments.
The Biden administration has mandated all federal agencies to have a plan to implement policies that reflect equity and inclusivity, with an emphasis on LGBTQ individuals, and some Republicans in Congress say such a policy for the gender dysphoric children of diplomats overseas would damage the credibility of the United States abroad.
“The State Department might not just be paying for their employee’s kids to receive these damaging surgeries, they’re penalizing foreign service officers who disagree, and pressuring countries to perform these procedures on children,” Representative Jim Banks (R-IN), who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), told The Washington Free Beacon. “Americans are pro-family, pro-country and pro-God. I hope foreigners understand that Joe Biden’s State Department doesn’t represent our values.”
Under the Biden administration, the United States appears to be moving in a direction opposite that of some European nations that have learned the evidence base for treatments for minors, such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, as well as transgender surgeries, is of such low quality that making recommendations for these interventions appear unsafe.
In early August, for example, Britain’s Tavistock & Portman National Health Service Clinic – which previously was a pioneer in using puberty blockers for gender dysphoric children – announced it was shutting down because of safety concerns.
In February, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare also issued an update to its guidelines for the treatment of minors with gender dysphoria that asserted “the risks of hormonal interventions for gender dysphoric youth outweigh the potential benefits.”
Similarly, the French National Academy of Medicine followed its cautionary statement that same month.
In June 2020, Finland had already begun turning away from medical interventions for children with gender dysphoria, recommending, instead, psychotherapy.
“Surgical treatments are not part of the treatment methods for dysphoria caused by gender-related conflicts in minors,” said Finland’s Council for Choices in Health Care, a public health agency.
The Council pointed to the lack of information on “effects of different treatment methods on the mental well-being, social capacity and quality of life of children and youth,” and the “disadvantages of procedures and on people who regret them.”
“It is quite clear that some of the most progressive countries in Europe are choosing to reconsider their use of medicalizing children’s identities and, in Europe, puberty blockers are fast becoming the most controversial aspect of gender treatment paths for children,” said Stella O’Malley, a U.K.-based psychotherapist, according to Daily Wire.
“The facts are simple,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) also said. “Biden’s policies exploit and harm children to promote his political agenda. These experimental and irreversible treatments on children shouldn’t be tolerated, let alone promoted.”
In August, Manhattan Institute fellow Leor Sapir exposed a leaked memo from Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and posed this question at City Journal:
Is the U.S. State Department about to classify Sweden, Finland, and the U.K. as human rights abusers? According to an internal memo from Secretary Antony Blinken (leaked to me by an officer in the department’s Foreign Service) and circulated among employees last week, the answer might be yes.
“The Biden administration has defined ‘conversion therapy’ as any effort to ‘suppress or change an individual’s … gender identity,’” Sapir noted, adding that the Blinken memo defines “conversion” to mean “only efforts to change a transgender identity into a ‘cisgender one.’”
“Thus, a hypothetical scenario in which a child is put under intense pressure to become trans, even if this means medicalization, would technically not count as ‘conversion,’” Sapir wrote. “At the first signs of a child’s gender distress or confusion, the only legitimate, ‘human rights’-respecting outcome of treatment, according to the Biden administration, is social transition followed, in most cases, by body modification.”
In September, Banks and members of the RSC wrote to Jessica Stern, U.S. special envoy to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons, at the U.S. Department of State, regarding the leaked memo and asserting their concern that the department might be “detailing its plans to coerce other countries to normalize and encourage transgenderism among youth.”
“The State Department’s memo is a form of radical gender imperialism that threatens our relationships with other nations and harms our standing in the world,” the RSC wrote, adding:
The initiative also threatens the relationships the United States enjoys with countries in which, unlike parts of America and Western Europe, transgenderism does not enjoy government support. In Africa, the Middle East and much of the developing world, for example, where the U.S. enjoys key strategic relationships, this initiative could prove disastrous.
The lawmakers have demanded a briefing on the matter.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].