DOJ Protects Pro-Transgender Govt. Official in Trans-Related Lawsuit
The Biden administration is moving to shield one of its top transgenderism advocates in the midst of an Alabama lawsuit over protecting children from gender transition procedures.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed the Vulnerable Child Protection Act (VCAP) into law last year, making it a felony for doctors to prescribe hormones or puberty-blocking drugs for minors or perform gender transition surgeries on minors. The law was temporarily halted by a U.S. District Court after several plaintiffs, including the Department of Justice, filed a lawsuit. The injunction was overturned late last month by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing the state to enforce the law.
Since the DOJ involved itself in the case — even presenting arguments in federal court — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) filed for legal discovery for records on several federal government officials, including Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Admiral Rachel Levine, a biological man who identifies as transgender. In a court filing, Marshall stated, “It is not hyperbole to say that Admiral Levine is the leading public-facing official in the United States government when it comes to transitioning treatments for minors.” He argued, “So if one were putting together a list of potential custodians at HHS concerning transitioning treatment for minors, Levine would be at the top. Levine obviously has communications and documents relevant to this litigation.”
However, the DOJ blocked Marshall’s request. According to court documents, the federal government argued Levine “is not herself [sic] conducting studies related to gender-affirming care nor is she [sic] employed at HHS as a researcher.” The DOJ instead offered information on one of Levine’s subordinates and information from several Freedom of Information Act requests not filed by Marshall, containing, according to the AG, “different information using different search terms over a different timespan…”
Levine has been a vocal proponent of gender transition procedures, especially for minors. Last year, Levine slammed state laws prohibiting minors from accessing gender transition procedures, calling such legislation “harassment, scapegoating, and intentional abuse,” and faulting it for high suicide rates among children who identify or say they identify as transgender. He also claimed that gender transition procedures, including genital mutilation surgeries, are “medically necessary, safe, and effective for trans and non-binary youth.” Earlier this year, he argued that children can go through “the wrong puberty” and claimed that “treatment options for gender-affirming care for transgender youth really are evidence-based.”
Experts have argued the opposite, though. Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Family Studies, contended in a 2021 study, “Despite claims to the contrary, these procedures are often not reversible, and they are not evidence-based. Research has not shown that these procedures are effective in accomplishing their purpose, which is to improve the patient’s mental health.” Bauwens noted that the effects of gender transition procedures — including puberty blockers and hormone drugs, which are often touted by their supporters as “reversible” interventions — are, in fact, irreversible. She also noted that there is no evidence that gender transition procedures improve the mental health of children who identify as transgender, especially as many seek to detransition as they reach adulthood.
“There is no convincing evidence that these procedures improve mental health in the long run… And minors are certainly not capable of the kind of long-term evaluation of risks and benefits that would allow them to give ‘informed consent’ for such procedures,” she concluded. “Invasive physiological gender transition procedures for minors should be prohibited by law.”
Bauwens has also addressed Levine’s claims that barring minors from gender transition increases the likelihood of suicide, saying, “These claims are misplaced, and frankly, dangerous.” Bauwens explained that “at this time, there is no evidence that suicidality abates after transgender medical procedures are performed. To the contrary, the available evidence shows a rise in completed suicides following medical interventions. Why? Clearly, the real psychological pain behind the suicidality is not being addressed by medical interventions.”
Other nations are already following this advice. For example, the U.K., France, Sweden, and Finland have all halted gender transition procedures for minors, citing the absence of evidence that such procedures are beneficial and warning that they potentially cause irreversible damage. In investigating the infamous Tavistock gender transition clinic, Britain’s National Health Service found that medical personnel were rushing children onto puberty blockers and hormone drugs with little to no psychological oversight and only minimal prior psychological evaluation.
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.