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I wish the argument made by the second speaker in panel one was an argument I just made up for this cartoon. But it’s an argument I’ve seen, multiple times – the fear not merely that a young person will be mistaken about their gender, but that fanatical parents and profit-seeking doctors are forcing sex change upon unwilling kids.
Eight states have proposed laws banning puberty blockers from being prescribed to trans minors. Not asking for extra barriers or cautions, such as stricter regulations, or a mandatory second and third opinion (although those things would be bad enough): An absolute ban. Because conservative legislators know better than a ten year old’s parents or doctors, apparently.
Some of those bills are even more extreme:
Kentucky’s bill… would allow either parent to override consent for transition care, a right which the state cannot overrule; it would require all government agents to disclose to parents whether a child expresses gender dysphoria or gender-variant behavior; and it would protect the right of any government employee, including teachers, to express their views on gender identity, including misgendering or harassing transgender students. Additionally, any adult (or minor with parent or guardian permission) who had previously been given transition care would be allowed to sue doctors for damages for the next 20 years.
Because the bills don’t stop at banning puberty blockers, a second South Dakota bill introduced Tuesday would require any teacher, school psychologist, or social worker to out any students they suspect may be suffering from gender dysphoria to the student’s parents.
That’s quoting an article by Katelyn Burns. It’s not short, but if you’ve got a little time, it’s an excellent summary of the issue.
Of course, not 100% of trans kids will want puberty blockers. Like any large population, trans kids have a wide variety of needs. But for many, access to puberty blockers is not a trivial issue.
Transgender youth have a much greater risk of suicide, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, if they have access to a puberty blocker, their chances of suicide and mental health problems in the immediate term and down the road decline significantly, a new study finds.
I’ve had arguments with folks who think access to puberty blockers should be more strictly limited, or just eliminated, for trans youth, and I come away every time amazed at their callousness about what happens to trans kids.
Another “two people arguing as they walk through a park” cartoon. I hope you don’t get tired of seeing these, because I do them a lot! It’s so much more fun to draw than cartoons where the characters are sitting in a cafe; they move, the backgrounds change, I can put the characters on different horizontal levels. (Notice how in panel 1, the hill putting the second character on a lower level gives me extra space for all the dialog she has in that panel?)
I tried to draw the characters talking while staying at least six feet apart. Strictly speaking, they should also have been wearing masks, but would be so hard for me to draw expressions without mouths! Let’s face it, huge mouths are kind of my “thing.” But drawing them six feet apart is my way of acknowledging that even when I do cartoons that aren’t about coronavirus, these still aren’t ordinary times.
I hope you’re all healthy and staying safe. Or if you can’t stay safe – if you’re an essential worker – then I hope you’re staying as safe as you can, and… Thank you.
And thanks to every one of you who supports my patreon. I thank you. My cat thanks you. (Patreon supporters saw this cartoon a couple of weeks ago.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows the same thing: Two women walking through a hilly park as they argue. The two are staying at least six feet apart from each other as they talk.
The woman in front is wearing a jacket with rolled-up sleeves, black tights with holes in them, and a striped shirt. She has a pink streak in her black hair. The woman behind is wearing a skirt with a pattern of exclamation marks, a white collared shirt, and has wavy hair falling to a little below shoulder level. She’s wearing glasses.
PINK is talking calmly while, behind her, GLASSES waves her arms and talks in an argumentative fashion.
PINK: So when an eleven year old trans kid is prescribed puberty delaying drugs, that could spare them decades of suffering!
GLASSES: But what if a boy likes dolls, so his parents decide he’s a girl and force him to change sex? That’s why we must outlaw puberty delaying drugs!
Pink isn’t yelling but she’s speaking passionately, waving her hands as she talks. Behind her, Glasses has her hands in her pockets and is listening without much expression.
PINK: I’ve never seen a real case like that. That would be awful. But if a case like that happened, it’d be one in a million. On the other hand, there are definitely trans kids who need this treatment.
Pink turns back a bit to talk directly at Glasses as she asks Glasses a question. Glasses, hands still in pocket, replies calmly.
PINK: So how many trans kids would you sacrifice to prevent one hypothetical non-trans kid being forced into delayed puberty?
GLASSES: All of them.
Pink has now turned all the way around, looking a bit horrified, and holding her palms up in a “let me just explain this” gesture. Glasses has stopped walking, has folded her arms, and has raised her voice, with an angry expression.
PINK: I don’t think you understand – we could be talking about a hundred thousand-
GLASSES: I said all of them!