(LifeSiteNews) — As a mother living in Tennessee, I am happy to see that the state’s House lawmakers voted 77–16 on February 23 to prohibit anyone under 18 from receiving “gender-affirming care… including… puberty blockers and hormones,” though there are some exceptions. The bill is now on Governor Bill Lee’s desk, and he is expected to sign it.
Throughout the several different secular articles I read about this, I couldn’t help but notice the language, the indignant outcries of certain lawmakers, and the repeated use of the term “gender-affirming care.”
Democratic representative Gloria Johnson lamented, “We have taken away a woman’s right to determine her health care and her health outcomes – and now we’ve gone to children.”
What Ms. Johnson doesn’t seem to understand or care about is the fact that we are talking about actual children – children who in the state of Tennessee aren’t allowed to go on a field trip without a parent’s permission, who cannot even take ibuprofen to school in case of a sudden headache, and who need a parent’s permission to get an ear pierced. Yet she wants those same children to make a life-changing decision that will harm their bodies. It makes no sense at all.
Johnson is just one example of a lawmaker who cares more about an agenda than children.
The indignation of such people goes hand in hand with the latest trend of schools usurping the rights of parents, and it should outrage everyone – not just parents.
One such instance recently occurred in Maryland, where a “nonbinary” “teacher said intentionally concealing students’ gender changes, ‘especially from parents,’ was part of ‘explicit’ district policy and provided ‘good laughs.’”
This is all just a joke to people like this teacher? If this doesn’t anger you, not much will.
When phrases like “gender-affirming care” become the norm, we know we’re in deep trouble, as these words implicitly tell the listener that drugs and surgery to maim a body are now seen as care. Yet it’s far from it. Care does not involve changing someone’s identity. Care does not involve the mutilation of bodies. And care does not allow an impressionable and confused child to make a decision that will affect the rest of his or her life.
Parents, beware. This woke gender ideology is taught to kids as young as elementary school, and it’s going to become the norm if we do not speak out and speak loudly. Children deserve to go to school to learn; it is not a place to be force fed gender ideology from people who care more about themselves than our children.
I don’t have all the answers as to what will stop this and return our culture to one where families are respected, where children are taught that, barring a chromosomal abnormality, people are created male and female, and where those who feel uncomfortable in their bodies are given the help they need rather than life-altering drugs or surgery, but I do know that the path to a culture of life begins with action. And that action can be summed up with the four Cs: communication, cognizance, courage, and constancy.
Communication between parents and children is vital. As hard as it may be, we must teach our children that it’s safe to come to us with problems. We must keep the lines of communication open and talk to them about current events and about our faith, and we must help them work through some of the things they hear at school and see on social media.
Too often kids hide behind phones losing themselves in TikTok videos that warp their minds and that attempt to convince them that their bodies are theirs to do whatever they want with, that gender is fluid, and that peers are better allies than parents. It’s our job to teach them otherwise and to impress upon them that we always have their backs. It’s our job to convince them that our love is unconditional. And it’s our job to love them through all the difficulties of life. If we aren’t talking lovingly to our kids and really listening to them, the only voices they hear will come from their peers. And I’m pretty sure I can speak for most parents when I say that I don’t want other kids raising mine.
Cognizance of what’s going on at our kids’ schools – be they elementary, middle, high school, or even college – is equally as crucial. In public or private schools, our tax dollars (or our tuition money) fund the programs. The teachers and administration work for us. The job they do is supposed to benefit our children, and if we are not happy with that job, we are obligated to speak out. Schools are not venues for the promotion of woke ideologies. If you find that something inappropriate is going on in your school system, don’t be afraid to speak out. It’s your right because it’s your children.
Speaking out, regardless of whether we are speaking to our children, to teachers, to a school board, or to a national audience, takes courage. It’s not easy, and it can be downright daunting. Culture-of-life principles have become countercultural. It’s not the popular thing to say that the sex we are born with does not change and that atrocities like abortion and euthanasia are wrong. But think about the alternative if we refuse to speak these truths.
And it’s not enough to speak these truths just once or twice or 10 times. We must speak them constantly, compassionately, and without fear. According to news reports, “Civil rights groups have vowed an immediate lawsuit if and when the bill [in Tennessee] becomes law.”
The progressive ideology won’t stop. It keeps hammering away at religion, at morals, and at family values hoping that we will get tired, give up, and agree to get with the proverbial program, less we face canceling or something worse.
But giving up is not what we are called to do. We are called to speak the truth, to protect not only our children but our neighbor’s children, and to never ever deny the importance of bringing up children with morality, virtue, and biological truths. And we pray that one day soon our culture will understand that mutilating surgery and hormone treatments are not care.
Susan Ciancio is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has worked as a writer and editor for nearly 19 years; 13 of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently, she is the editor of American Life League’s Celebrate Life Magazine – the nation’s premier Catholic pro-life magazine. She is also the executive editor of ALL’s Culture of Life Studies Program – a pre-K-12 Catholic pro-life education organization.