A right-leaning columnist for The Denver Post has been fired for what he said were his politically incorrect statements on transgender rights, including his insistence that “there are only two sexes.”
Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute in Denver, said last Friday that editorial editor Megan Schrader nixed his weekly column, which he has written since 2016, because she “found my writing too insensitive”.
“But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns, to force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes, to call what is plainly a man in a dress, well, not a man in a dress violates our right of speech,” Mr. Caldara said in a Facebook post. Mr. Caldara refused to use the proper pronouns when referring to transgender, nonbinary, or genderqueer individuals, including when referring to Colorado’s first transgender lawmaker, Representative Brianna Titione.
“When people lack empathy, they can’t see that their words and actions inflict harm on others. While many of us are working hard at trying to save lives by lifting people up, others continue to put people down with vitriol. Denying the existence of people who may be different by denying the chance for kids to learn doesn’t make us disappear. What it does do is it brings us together stronger,” said Representative Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), the first transgender lawmaker in Colorado.
“When people lack empathy, they can’t see that their words and actions inflict harm on others. While many of us are working hard at trying to save lives by lifting people up, others continue to put people down with vitriol. Denying the existence of people who may be different by denying the chance for kids to learn doesn’t make us disappear.”
Rep. Brianna Titone
On January 15th, the Colorado State House of Representatives introduced House Bill 20-1114: Protection of Minors from Mutilation and Sterilization. Along with several mainstream medical associations, One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families, warns of the dangers of interference in the care of transgender youth.
“This is one of the most extreme and direct attacks on transgender youth in Colorado’s history. This bill overlooks best practices backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and criminalizes healthcare professionals for providing affirming, life-saving care to some of our most vulnerable young people. Transgender youth are five times more likely to contemplate suicide and this bill puts the lives and wellbeing of transgender youth at risk. Medical care for transgender youth should be determined by healthcare professionals, not politicians,” said Daniel Ramos, Executive Director, One Colorado.
“It’s reprehensible that a transphobic bill like HB20-1114 would even be drafted – a bill that would deny any person, regardless of their age, the right to affirming healthcare,” expressed Representative Alex Valdez (D-Denver), chair of the LGBTQ Caucus.
“Our government would arrest and imprison doctors for up to 12 years simply for following their Hippocratic Oath to care for their patients and provide best practice medical care to their patients. Medical professionals and patients, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of an individual in accordance with the current medical best practices,” explained Representative Dr. Yadira Caraveo, (D-Adams).
“The systematic attack on the trans community is being fueled and fanned by the federal government and the Trump administration. Their erasure of trans people from websites, documents, and from health insurance coverage was just the beginning. This bill, and other similar legislation being introduced in states around the country, are meant to embolden the dehumanization of the transgender community. By denying appropriate and affirming healthcare, we are setting trans youth up for a more difficult future and the possibility of depression or suicide. We need to value our young people and allow our healthcare professionals to make the decisions, and not be limited by politicians. We won’t be erased,” added Rep. Titone.
If enacted, HB20-1114 would force doctors to violate existing standards of medical care for transgender patients—standards that are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading medical authorities. It makes transgender affirming healthcare for youth a Felony Three in Colorado, which carries up to 12 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
Best practice medical care for transgender youth simply delays puberty until they are old enough to make their own decisions about their lived gender. This bill aims to take away young people’s choices and attempts to prevent them from fulfilling their right to live as the gender they know they are inside. Denying best practice medical care and support to transgender youth can be life-threatening. It has been shown to contribute to depression, social isolation, self-hatred, risk of self-harm, suicidal behavior, and more.
Research shows that transgender youth whose families support their gender identity have a 52% decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48% decrease in suicide attempts, and significant increases in self-esteem and general health.
“Research consistently demonstrates that gender diverse youth who are supported to live and/or explore the gender role that is consistent with their gender identity have better mental health outcomes than those who are not,” stated the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
“Unfortunately, many of the claims being made about gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-incongruent individuals are inaccurate. Policies concerning the diagnosis and treatment of transgender individuals should be based on science, not politics. Claims that a transgender child would receive surgical or irreversible hormonal treatment do not reflect the reality of medical practice,” stressed the Endocrine Society.
“The AAP recommends taking a ‘gender-affirming,’ nonjudgmental approach that helps children feel safe in a society that too often marginalizes or stigmatizes those seen as different. The gender-affirming model strengthens family resiliency and takes the emphasis off heightened concerns over gender while allowing children the freedom to focus on academics, relationship-building and other typical developmental tasks,” explained American Academy of Pediatrics.
On the opening day of the second regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly, two additional bills were introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives that will cause serious harm to the LGBTQ community if enacted. House Bills 20-1033 and 20-1063 roll back protections for LGBTQ Coloradans, including LGBTQ youth, in the areas of parental abuse, adoption and foster care, healthcare, housing, employment, and public spaces.
The House prime sponsor for HB20-1114 is Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-El Paso County) with Rep. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park), Rep. Rod Bockenfeld (R-Watkins), Rep. Tim Geitner (R-Falcon), Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R-Severance), Rep. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs), Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), Rep. Rod Pelton (R-Cheyenne Wells), Rep. Kim Ransom (R-Douglas County), Rep. Janice Rich (R-Grand Junction), Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta), Rep. Perry Will (R-New Castle), Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) as co-sponsors.
The House prime sponsor for HB20-1033 is Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R-Severance), with Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor), Rep. Tim Geitner (R-Falcon), Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), Rep. Kim Ransom (R-Douglas County), Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-El Paso County) Rep. Dave. Williams (R-Colorado Springs) as co-sponsors.
The HB20-1063 House prime sponsor is Rep. Tim Geitner (R-Falcon).
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