(LifeSiteNews) — As the transgender wars escalate, we are seeing two trends unfold simultaneously. On one side, a mounting body of evidence that reveals the irreversible damage caused by “sex change” surgeries and puberty blockers/cross-sex hormones is driving an ideologically diverse opposition to the transgender agenda, with American red states as well as liberal nations such as Denmark, Sweden, and Finland changing course.
On the other side, progressives are doubling down, with countries such as Canada and New Zealand and states such as California and Minnesota pushing new laws enshrining transgender premises into law with increasingly extremist measures. In those places, dissent from LGBT orthodoxy—that “sex changes,” even for kids, are necessary to prevent suicides; that de-transitioners are either grifters or aberrations; that all evidence indicating the damage being done by this medical scandal should be ignored—meets hostility and even professional sanctions.
California has been roiled by this culture war for several years. Dominated by the progressive cities, the state is still home to a substantial conservative minority, and this has resulted in massive protests at school board meetings as angry parents have demanded accountability and insisted that LGBT indoctrination stop. Some of these protests have devolved into brawls—frustration is mounting as California’s legislators and Governor Gavin Newsom plow forward with bill after bill buttressing the LGBT hegemony in the Golden State.
The latest bill is AB-957, which passed in both state houses on September 8 and calls for California’s judicial courts to consider parents’ “affirmation of the child’s gender identity or gender expression as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child” when making decisions about custody and visitation rights. The bill states that “affirmation includes a range of actions and will be unique for each child, but in every case must promote the child’s overall health and well-being.” The bill’s sponsor, Lori Wilson, claims that this language is vague enough to allow for “judicial discretion.”
That is transparent nonsense. The very language of the bill is rooted in transgender premises—“gender affirmation” assumes that the child was born into the wrong body and that “sex change” surgeries or puberty blockers are thus “affirming” the child’s genuine gender, which is distinct from his or her sex and thus must be corrected. That is why the LGBT movement moved away from the language of “gender transition” and instead demands that the term “gender affirmation” be used—because the very terminology is rooted in the assumption that their view is correct.
Wilson has been clear about her bill’s intent, noting that it is “our duty as parents is to affirm our children” and that a child’s choice of gender, “whatever it is,” must be respected by parents. Parents can disagree with transgender ideology—that is their First Amendment right, Wilson stated—but their disagreement “can also be considered in a custody dispute.” In response to critics, she has said that her bill focuses on “what is best for the child and there is a breadth of research that supports that affirmation of gender identity is the child’s best interest.” There are a lot of countries—from the U.K. to Norway—who would strongly beg to differ with that assertion.
As Fox News reported, parents are sounding the alarm and noting that the real intent of this bill is to remove children from the home of parents who do not what to “transition” their children:
Erin Friday, a California lawyer and mother to a daughter who transitioned and later detransistioned, told Fox News Digital that under this bill she would have lost custody of her daughter had it been in place when she was questioning her gender as she did not affirm her daughter in the transition.
“Any parent who won’t affirm their child now, risks losing custody of their child,” Friday said. “California will be the first state to find parents abusive if they don’t agree to affirm their child’s gender identity, and we don’t even know what that means.”
“957 is not limited to divorce situations, and this is what the author will tell you: it’s just a divorce, and it’s just one prong, and that is untrue,” she added. “Because the bill ties gender affirmation to three very important words and those are health, safety and welfare. Those words are magical words. They have a meaning in law, which the author doesn’t want you to know about.”
Friday said “any” being the key word means “the judge must look at that in any custody claim, not just divorce.” In addition, “the penal code in California for abuse or neglect uses the words health and welfare,” she added.
“They’re backdooring it,” Friday said. “They’re actually saying that the health, safety and welfare of all children is tied to affirmation and that’s how you get to where parents like me who did not affirm their child, could lose custody of their child.”
“Must they put them on puberty blockers?” she asked. “Must they cut their body parts off? Must they put them on cross-sex hormones, or must they just give them a haircut? What if the parents are religious and their religion says that they cannot affirm the child’s gender identity?”
“What happens when one parent is only willing to affirm by using a different name and the other parent is willing to cut the child’s gonads? Who wins?” she continued. “What happens if neither parent will affirm the gender identity? Who takes the kid?”
The bill’s co-sponsor is Senator Scott Weiner, California’s worst and most dangerous legislator. Weiner has suggested that drag queen shows be mandatory for kids from kindergarten up; co-authored a bill that could require prison time for healthcare workers who decline a “preferred name or pronouns”; and proposed a law in 2019—also signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom—that permits “judges discretion over sex-offender registration in all cases involving voluntary intercourse between teenagers 14 to 17, who cannot legally consent, and adults who are less than ten years older.” He has also introduced legislation that would require foster parents to “affirm the gender identities” of children in their homes and a bill that would permit children to obtain “sex changes” without parental consent.
Critics have already stated that AB-957 will be challenged in court. In the meantime, it is a terrifying time for parents with gender-confused children.