Metro Weekly

Republicans Want to Ban Transgender Care “For Everyone”

Midwest Republican lawmakers were recorded talking about banning gender-affirming care for all adults.

Michigan State Rep. Josh Schriver – Illustration: Todd Franson; Original photo: Michigan House of Representatives.

Audio from a small Twitter Space conversation between a group of lawmakers from Ohio and Michigan revealed that Republicans believe restricting gender-affirming care to minors is only the first step towards complete trans erasure. 

The Space featured several Michigan legislators, along with “detransitioner” Prisha Mosley, fellow anti-trans advocates, and Ohio State Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery), a pastor and the sponsor of the Buckeye State’s recently passed ban on gender-affirming care.

Uninvited guests were ejected from the Space, and others were blocked by the host, Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles) — indicating that the lawmakers may have wanted to keep their conversation private.

Inside the Space, the Michigan lawmakers discussed their plans and strategies for introducing legislation to restrict transgender health treatments in Michigan — where Democrats currently control the legislature — and ongoing strategy for pushing additional anti-transgender laws in Ohio, as reported by trans activist and journalist Erin Reed on her Erin in the Morning Substack.

Toward the end of the conversation, the lawmakers talked about advancing their legislative strategy and pushing legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender adults. 

“In terms of endgame, why are we allowing these practices for anyone?” Michigan State Rep. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) said. “If we are going to stop this for anyone under 18, why not apply it for anyone over 18? It’s harmful across the board, and that’s something we need to take into consideration in terms of the endgame.”

“That’s a very smart thought there,” Click responded. “I think what we know legislatively is we have to take small bites.”

“I think that what we can say is that for minors, they are not capable of giving informed consent,” Click added, noting that science suggests that the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which regulates thoughts and allows people to consider the consequences of their actions, is not fully developed until someone is in their mid-20s.

“We already regulate what minors can do,” Click said. “They cannot sign contracts, buy cigarettes, consume alcohol, they can’t get a tattoo without their parents. I think there’s something to be said for adults being able to weigh the pros and the cons.”

Click appeared to agree with provisions in an executive order that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine introduced to slow-walk access to gender-affirming care as an alternative to an outright ban, which the governor had previously vetoed.

Click also accused Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide hormones for transgender patients, of “pass[ing] out hormones like candy,” and lamented the existence of apps like Euphoria and Plume that guide transgender individuals through transitioning.

At one point, Schriver compared accessing gender-affirming care to self-mutilation or assisted suicide, insisting that “we have to be looking  at the endgame simultaneously, maybe even using that to move the [Overton] window to say that this isn’t just wrong [for people aged] 0-18, it’s wrong for everyone and we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen.”

But Click warned that such restrictions have to be done incrementally, starting with banning care for transgender youth — a majority of whom he claimed will desist from identifying as transgender if allowed to experience puberty and grow into their adult bodies.

Then, bit by bit, Click argued, additional restrictions could be imposed to limit hormones or surgery altogether. “When  you put everything into one pot, it’s going to be harder for you to get any legislation across the finish line,” he warned.

Mosley said she’d been waiting for some lawmaker to “be brave enough to address” the idea of a broader ban.

At the end of the conversation, Shriver again raised the issue of expanding bans to encompass all ages.

“Keep your mind open to banning this for all people,” he said. “This is something that’s harmful for all people, whether you are 18, 19, 20 or older.”

As Erin Reed noted in her Substack, the attempts by those involved in the Space to eject outsiders appear to signal a larger ulterior motive behind the passage of bans on gender-affirming care for minors, as well as a desire to prevent that information from being shared with the wider public.

She noted that anti-transgender organizations — and policymakers who are pushing anti-trans measures — are increasingly focusing their efforts on restricting the freedoms of transgender adults, or erase transgender existence from law altogether. 

Reed told Metro Weekly that the significance of the audio recording cannot be downplayed, as it marks one of the few times lawmakers were caught saying, without filters, what their intent is.

She pointed to Click, not only as the sponsor of the gender-affirming care ban, but as a politician with links to some of the nation’s chief anti-LGBTQ organizations, including the Family Policy Alliance, the Heritage Foundation, and the Center for Christian Virtue.

“Anybody who’s been familiar with coverage on LGBTQ issues, and especially trans issues, has sort of known this was going on,” she said. “For instance, there were a bunch of emails that got leaked last year from the early movement to ban trans care, as far back as 2019. A lot of people on those email chains are some of the same ones we see now leading the charge.

“We see people like Vernadette Broyles, who runs the Child & Parental Rights Campaign, who was basically responsible for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Florida, who stood beside DeSantis during the bill signing. We see Alliance Defending Freedom people. We see the people who went on to found Genspect and some of the major anti-trans organizations. And in those emails, they had very similar discussions to what we see here, in that they talk about how the children belong to God and how they’re doing this to ‘rid the world’ of this transgender ‘craze,’ and all those kinds of things,” Reed continued.

“We’ve had little moments where this has emerged again and again since that then,” she added. “Everything from Michael Knowles getting up at CPAC and saying he wanted transgender ‘eradication,’ to the Heritage Foundation putting out Project 2025, which spells out the path to making all transgender people ‘obscene.’ But this is the first time we’ve actually had legislators say in their own voice that this is the plan, that ‘we want to end [gender-affirming care] for everyone.'”

Reed noted that Missouri Rep. Doug Mann (D-Columbia) made prescient remarks during a hearing for a bill to ban transgender adults from using gender-affirming bathrooms, speculating that, even if the bill were to pass, opponents of the transgender community would never be placated or move on from seeking to limit transgender rights.

“That sentiment has been expressed in hearings in other states, in Utah, in Ohio, where people have asked, ‘Where does this end?'” Reed said. “As long as trans people exist, as long as we coexist, as long as we are in public, it feels like they will continue to pass legislation targeting us.”

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