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West Virginia legislature outlaws gender-affirming care for minors

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A bill that bans gender-affirming care for minors in West Virginia is now on the desk of GOP Gov. Jim Justice. West Virginia, along with eight other states in the nation, have passed legislation that would ban the controversial gender-affirming care for all minors under the age of 18.

The legislation is aimed at banning what many conservatives and child advocates say is dangerous medical procedures that can rarely be reversed.  As of yet, Gov. Justice has not made a public statement on the legislation but many parents are becoming more vocal about opposing the extreme process of transitioning before the age of 18.

Recently at CPAC, detransitioner Chloe Cole spoke out against a very painful decision that allowed her parents to approve transitioning from a female to a male starting at the age of 12, as stated in the The Daily Signal.

“Cole, who began detransitioning at 17 and since has gone on to oppose gender transition in minors, spoke to The Daily Signal about how transgender ideology is pushed on children and parents almost everywhere.

The health care system quickly foisted the transition process on her, Cole says.

“I was 12 when I started socially transitioning,” Cole recalled. “And at 13, I was diagnosed with [gender] dysphoria and put on puberty blockers and testosterone. And at 15, when I was just a sophomore in high school, I had a double mastectomy, my breasts removed.”

She said she “stopped transitioning” at 16.”

A study conducted by UCLA in 2017 showed that West Virginia had more trans-youth per capita then any other state in the nation.

West Virginia isn’t the only state pushing bills on banning gender-affirming care for minors though. Montana recently passed senate bill 99 which was introduced by GOP Sen. John Fuller that bans all gender-affirming care for minors in order to allow time for those minors to evaluate wether or not they are experiencing gender dysphoria.

Puzzling, but every major medical organization supports gender-affirming care for minors despite the very real questions surrounding the process before the age of 18. It’s puzzling because scientists agree, for the most part, that  evidences that a human being’s decision making part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, does not fully develop until mid to late 20s. The question then is how can a minor make such an extreme decision when it comes to the life altering consequences of transitioning from one gender to another.

Furthermore, the bill will outlaw anyone under the age of 18 from being prescribed hormone therapy and fully reversible medication for suspending the physical changes of puberty. The bill will also ban all gender-affirming surgeries for children under the age of 18. Gender-affirming surgeries include facial surgeries, top surgeries and bottom surgeries, according to the legislation.

In an update to the bill that was pushed by Senate Majority leader Tom Takubo, some transgender youth will be allowed to continue receiving medical interventions if the gender dysphoria they are experiencing is severe enough.

You can follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC

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Minnesota farmer’s lawsuit prompts removal of race and sex-based grant program

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Five months after Minnesota farmer Lance Nistler filed a federal lawsuit with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), the state has removed race- and sex-based preferences from its Down Payment Assistance Grant Program. This significant policy change followed Nistler’s legal challenge, which highlighted the discriminatory nature of the program’s selection process.

Pacific Legal Foundation writes involvement in Nistler’s case drew attention and criticism from Minnesota progressives. Writing in the Minnesota Reformer, Sigrid Jewett accused PLF of using Nistler “as a pawn in a larger culture war game.” She questioned why a California-based legal firm with numerous Supreme Court victories would be interested in representing a small Minnesota farmer pro bono.

PLF opposes all race- and sex-based preferences in the law, and that’s the real reason the firm chose to represent Nistler. The foundation stands against discrimination in various domains, including government board selections, school admissions, government contracts, and grant distributions, such as in Nistler’s case.

Here are the facts: Minnesota’s Down Payment Assistance Grant Program offers up to $15,000 toward the purchase of farmland. Recipients are chosen through a lottery system. However, before the policy change, even if a recipient was among the first picked through the lottery—as Nistler was, being selected ninth—they could be bumped to the back of the line if they were not a racial minority, female, LGBTQIA+, or otherwise designated as an “emerging” farmer by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Despite being chosen ninth in the lottery, which awarded grants to 68 applicants, Nistler did not receive a grant. He was moved from ninth to 102nd on the waitlist because he is a white male.

Nistler grew up on his family farm, milking cows. “They would lose money every year,” he says of the family operation. After he left for school, his family sold the cows and switched to farming soybeans, oats, and wheat. Lance’s father and uncle now run the farm, but they’re getting older. Lance, who has a degree in electronic engineering and worked in HVAC, is interested in buying a 40-acre chunk of the family farm, becoming the fourth-generation farmer in his family.

The land isn’t just going to be given to Lance. This is a working farm, and the Nistlers aren’t a wealthy family that can transfer land from one generation to the next without consideration. “My dad and uncle, they don’t have 401(k)s or anything,” Lance says. “I mean, the land and the equipment, that’s their retirement. This stuff isn’t given away. I’m not just going to get it handed down to me and inherited. It has to be purchased, and it is not cheap.”

Despite being from a farming family, Lance considers himself a new farmer—he has never owned farmland before, and he has an electronics background. Buying these 40 acres would be a huge step for Lance, planting him firmly in the farming world, which is what Minnesota’s grant program aimed to do. The idea that he would have qualified as an emerging farmer if only his skin were a different color struck Lance as wrong.

“The country we live in, the idea is it’s equal opportunity for everyone,” he says. “And if that’s what it is, then well, why shouldn’t I have the same chances?”

When Lance filed his lawsuit in January, the complaint argued that the discriminatory process violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. The complaint stated:

“Nistler brings this lawsuit to vindicate his constitutional right to equal protection of the law. He brings it to give all Minnesotans a fair chance at a difference-making grant program. He brings it in the hope that he will be able to own that small farm in the near future. He brings it because he is not giving up on his dream.”

In May, after Lance called attention to the unconstitutional policy, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed legislation removing the race and sex prioritization from the program. Now, Minnesota will treat farmers equally—as the Constitution promises.

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