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Genetic Linkage

Will New Knowledge of Gender Identity Genomics Counter Discrimination?

If legislation being developed by State Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, (R-Powder Springs, Georgia) goes forward, a physician who provides surgery or hormones to assist a transgender individual age 18 or under in transitioning will be committing a felony. This treatment addresses gender dysphoria, which is the significant distress or inability to function when the gender assigned at birth (natal male or female) doesn't match the gender that a person feels.


Representative Ehrhart's press release introducing the "Vulnerable Child Protection Act" emphasizes that the proposed measures do not apply to adults. Her words are harsh: "This is about children who are being abused by adults. The sterilization and castration of children has no place in a civilized society." She got the idea, according to media reports, from the case in Texas of a 7-year-old whose mother supports the child's claiming to be female and the father opposes it. Sen. Ted Cruz called the child "a pawn in a left-wing political agenda." Because gender dysphoria isn't even diagnosed until puberty, the mutilation scenario seems an exaggeration.


The practice that Rep. Ehrhart refers to is more eloquently and accurately known as "gender affirming therapy," and includes hormone suppression that is already used to treat other conditions. At the Texas child's age, it might just mean allowing her to wear what she wants as a team of medical specialists evaluates the case. Several health organizations have published guidelines on therapy; here's one.

If the language in the press release is an indication of the coming legislation, then the rhetoric implies that gender dysphoria and even transgender identity do not exist.


To continue reading, go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared.

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