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On September 27, 2023, Republican Presidential Candidate, an Indian-American Multimillionaire Biotech Entrepreneur, Vivek Ramaswamy made statements describing “Transgenderism” as a mental disorder among children during the second speaking at the Grand Old Party’s debate for its 2024 US Presidential Election.
The candidate called “Transgenderism” to be a mental health disorder among children causing a stir. He further addressed gender dysphoria among children as a “kid’s confusion” and that affirming it is not compassion but cruelty.
In a post on X (previously known as Twitter), Ramaswamy shared a video of him discussing the topic further. He emphasized that over half of children experiencing gender dysphoria have contemplated suicide. He expressed his disapproval of politicians rejecting a law mandating schools to notify parents if their children undergo a change in gender identity at school.
Ramaswamy also argued that parents had the right to be informed about their children without it being “controversial”. He advocated for the prohibition of genital modification and puberty blockers before the age of 18 and wants to “empower parents again”
Ramaswamy supported his argument with an example of two young women he met who regretted their gender surgeries later on. It’s worth noting that such regrets are rare. An analysis of 27 studies involving almost 8,000 teenagers and adults who underwent transgender surgeries across Europe, the United States, and Canada found that only about 1% expressed regret, as reported by the Associated Press.
It’s vital to understand the nuanced reasons behind an individual’s choice to detransition as they stand to be more complex in reality than portrayed in the media. The primary reason leading to detransition is often difficulty in dealing with the loss of family and community support due to transphobia or not being able to find jobs or housing for the same reason.
Anti-Trans Wave in the US
In recent years, the United States has witnessed a concerning surge in anti-trans sentiment, not only reflected as a public outrage but also in its legislative trends. For instance, in 2023 alone, Republicans proposed over 500 bills impacting Queer individuals, with at least 48 becoming law. This is an increase from 2022, when 315 bills were introduced, and 29 were passed.
Most of these bills focus on transgender individuals, addressing various aspects of their public life. Some aim to prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports, while others mandate that transgender individuals use facilities matching their assigned gender at birth or restrict changes to sex markers on official documents.
Simon Willis, co-president of PFLAG Houston, an organisation that provides support groups for LGBTQ+ communities, noted that many of these bills are crafted to instil fear within the community and normalise anti-trans sentiment in public discourse.
Two recent surveys indicate growing American support for laws that limit the rights of transgender individuals, particularly in sports participation and medical care for minors.
- In a recent Scripps News/YouGov online poll of 1,000 respondents, over 44% of Americans expressed support for “laws that would restrict or prohibit transgender care for minors, even with parents’ consent,” in their state. Meanwhile, 34% stated their opposition to such measures.
- Among political affiliations, 75% of Republicans favour more stringent measures being enacted in their states, while 60% of Democrats are against them.
The GOP has successfully passed a few bills into law, and they continue to push forward with numerous bills in state legislatures. Thus it may not be surprising for Vivek Ramaswamy to make such a statement about “transgenderism” at the GOP debate, given the Republican Party’s track record with anti-LGBTQ sentiments, yet it remains worrisome for the transgender youth. This remark has raised concerns among Queer Activists, especially as Republicans gear up for 2024 Presidential Elections.