‘There Are New Threats’: Experts Discuss How to Stop the Sexualization of Children
During Family Research Council’s Pray Vote Stand Summit last weekend, a panel of experts gathered to discuss “Parents and Policy: The Perfect Team to Stop the Sexualization of Our Children.” The panel was composed of three experts representing different organizations within the network of state family councils who advocate for family values at the state capitals across the country. During the session, they shared the progress their organizations were making to ensure the protection of children and explored how parents and policymakers could join the fight.
“The sexualization of children is growing,” shared Autumn Leva, vice president of Strategy at Family Policy Alliance. “Now there are new threats… threats to their very bodies. And an increasing threat to take away their parents — their greatest protectors.”
Referencing a Columbia University study, Leva revealed that 36,000 children received gender transition surgeries from the years 2016-2020. She noted that this number has only increased since the Biden administration took office and began funding surgeries from the federal level.
After allowing the attendees to digest the somber statistic, Leva then directed the conversation to what is being done about it. In 2017, Family Policy Alliance proposed a law that would protect children from gender transition surgery called Help Not Harm. Although it was initially ignored, “a brave legislature… at Arkansas Family Council, with some heavy help from our friends here at Family Research Council” got it done, Leva shared. In just three years, that same law passed in Arkansas and is now in place in 20 other states, protecting children from gender transition surgery.
The panel assured the attendees that despite the Left’s efforts to take away parental rights and affirm children’s gender identities through irreversible surgeries, state family councils are doing their best to stay ahead of the curve and fight for parental rights. Montana Family Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy encouraged listeners with a recent win in his state.
“Because of the work we do and the resources we have with Family Policy Alliance, we tend to be cutting edge on most of these issues. That’s really good because we are out there in front, taking the lead.” With the Help Not Harm bill, Montana Family Foundation “swung for the fences,” according to Laszloffy.
Their version, which was passed in both the House and Senate, killed three birds with one stone. The new law makes gender transition surgeries on minors illegal, prevents school counselors from encouraging students to receive gender transition surgery, and allows detransitioners to seek compensation from doctors and psychologists associated with their case.
The third panel member, Dr. Todd Gathje from The Family Foundation of Virginia, shared about the recent efforts to stop the sexualization of children in his state as well. After telling the traumatic story of a freshman at Appomattox High School named Sage, Gathje explained that his organization “worked with a legislator to create a bill that would accomplish three things.”
The first was to ensure that “parents would be informed if their child was socially transitioning at school.” The second aspect of the bill made it illegal for public school counselors to have any closed-door conversation with students without parental notification and consent. The third, which did not get as much attention, protected parents from being accused of being abusive or neglectful to their child for denying their biological preference.
Although the bill — which was named Sage’s Law — passed on a party-line vote to send it over to the Senate, the Democratic majority leader voted no. The Family Foundation of Virginia will not give up, Gathje confirmed, as they will bring the bill back and hope to get it passed.
Throughout their presentation, the panel shared several “parenting tips” with the attendees from Family Policy Alliance’s “Back to School” guide for parents. The purpose of the guide is to share “what’s happening in your children’s classrooms” and to provide “practical steps you can take to protect them.”
In a comment to The Washington Stand, Laszloffy encouraged parents and churches not to “sit on the sidelines anymore” but instead get involved. “Our inaction for so long has led us to the point we are at now, and we are beginning to make a change, but it’s only because people are finally getting involved.”