In a video released on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump vowed that if re-elected to the presidency, he would sign laws that penalized doctors who provide gender-affirming care to minors, discourage acknowledgment of gender-nonconformity, and require schools to promote the concept of the nuclear family.
In the video, posted to Truth Social and Rumble, the former president said that, if elected to the White House once more in 2024, he would direct federal agencies to police and ultimately “stop” gender-affirming medical interventions for minors, which he equated to “child abuse” and “child sexual mutilation.”
According to NBC News, Trump promised to push Congress to pass a nationwide law banning gender-affirming care for minors; order the Justice Department to investigate whether the pharmaceutical industry and various hospitals “deliberately covered up horrific long-term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich”; and cut off doctors from receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds if they recommend hormones or surgery for youth suffering from gender dysphoria.
Trump also promised to make it easier for patients who receive gender-affirming care but later experience “regret” to sue their former doctors.
He said he would prohibit any federal agency from doing work to “promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age,” not just among minors, and appeared to imply he would consider pushing for a federal law only recognizing two genders.
Taking cues from right-wing strongmen in other countries, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Trump also promised to institute changes in education to indoctrinate children into adopting right-wing views on social issues and with respect to human sexuality.
Among those changes would be the creation of a new credentialing body for teachers that would discourage them from teaching concepts or historical facts dealing with race that might be considered “critical race theory.”
That same credentialing body would also mandate that teachers “promote positive education about the nuclear family, the roles of mothers and fathers, and celebrating, rather than erasing, the things that make men and women different.”
Under a Trump administration, the Department of Education would penalize teachers or school administrators who “suggest to a child that they could be trapped in the wrong body,” allowing them to be sued for civil rights violations and yanking federal funding from the schools that employ such teachers.
Trump’s promises are a transparent attempt to ingratiate himself with social conservatives who will be important in winning the Republican Party nomination and to outflank potential primary challengers like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has become best known for his opposition to LGBTQ visibility and to so-called “woke” concepts or ideas.
While Trump, while in office, largely did the bidding of the religious right and frequently pandered to social conservatives, he was never known — as was his former vice president, Mike Pence — for his social conservatism, frequently straying from typical right-wing talking points and setting himself apart from other Republicans, which allowed him to reach a significant bloc of non-traditional conservative voters.
For instance, during his 2016 campaign, and even, at times, during his presidency, Trump frequently bragged about courting LGBTQ voters, though most of his overtures dealt with outreach to cisgender gay or lesbian conservatives.
When he first ran for president, Trump was agnostic on transgender issues, failing to fully embrace North Carolina’s controversial HB 2 law that barred transgender people from using public restrooms matching their gender identity, and claiming that he did not care whether transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner used the women’s restroom in Trump Towers.
However, as opposition to transgender visibility, growing discomfort with expressions of gender-nonconformity, and concerns about the ability of minors to access transition-related medical treatments have become the new obsession of conservative activists — who see such topics as potential “wedge issues” that can be used to sway voters toward Republicans — Trump, too has changed his tune on LGBTQ issues.
Trump frequently rails against transgender participation in sports at rallies, touts right-wing talking points and misconceptions about gender-affirming care in order to justify his ban on transgender military personnel, and has launched more than 200 attacks against the LGBTQ community, according to the media advocacy organization GLAAD.
Thus far, five states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Utah — have enacted bans or restrictions on the type of gender-affirming treatments that minors may receive.
Lawmakers in at least 21 other states have proposed similar bills, with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene introducing similar legislation at the federal level.
Judges have blocked the Alabama and Arkansas statutes while ongoing lawsuits challenging their constitutionality are resolved in court, and activists in Utah have indicated they intend to sue to block that state’s recently enacted law.
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