The Biden administration recently issued an Executive Order on Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals and an accompanying fact sheet. This administration has issued numerous executive orders focused on gender identity (here, here, here, here, and here), elevating gender ideology to an unprecedented driver of federal policy. The June 15, 2022, executive order (EO) seeks to “reduce the risk of youth exposure to so-called conversion therapy” and work “with States on expanding access to gender-affirming care.” The EO suggests that “so-called conversion therapy” should not “meet criteria for use in federally funded health and human services programs,” and even encourages the Federal Trade Commission “to consider whether so-called conversion therapy constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and to issue such consumer warnings or notices as may be appropriate.” 

The White House claims that states that are seeking to protect children from gender ideology activists’ relentless push to socially and medically transition children “put LGBTQI+ people at risk” and “threaten basic personal safety.” Is this true?

“Today, unrelenting political and legislative attacks at the State level — on LGBTQI+ children and families in particular — threaten the civil rights gains of the last half century and put LGBTQI+ people at risk. These attacks defy our American values of liberty and dignity, corrode our democracy, and threaten basic personal safety.”
Biden Administration

False. Completely make believe.

The Biden administration’s executive order (EO) threatens “basic personal safety” by blocking efforts to help highly sensitive kids feel comfortable in their own bodies. “Conversion therapy,” as defined by the activists driving the president’s agenda, is any effort to explore underlying issues that impact the emotionally intense children captured by gender ideology. By gently questioning a child who feels drawn to a transgender identity, counselors could be accused of “conversion therapy.” 

Of course, society should reject efforts to push people into a particular sexual orientation, which is what practitioners of the original versions of conversion or reparative therapy were attempting to do. Therapies designed to pressure individuals to adopt a sexual identity and attempts to create an aversion to same-sex attraction through electric shocks or other physical means sound barbaric to our 2022 ears. 

The current trend of converting children and young adults into trans-identified lifelong medical patients is also barbaric. The activists behind the Biden administration’s executive order push children who express discomfort with their bodies, or even with regressive sex stereotypes, down a “gender affirmation” path of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and life-altering and permanent surgeries. Activists are silencing therapists who seek to help their patients by providing therapy approaches that address underlying issues, including depression and anxiety. State laws, professional licensing requirements, and now federal policy redefine conversion therapy and pressure everyone—caring adults and emotional youth—to view social and medical transition as the only culturally and legally acceptable option.

Attempts to distort the original definition of conversion therapy by defining it as anything other than enthusiastic affirmation of medical transition seeks to silence the discussion around how to support highly emotional and gender nonconforming youth. “Gender affirmation,” a gentle sounding term, in practice means either binding girls’ breasts or removing them, and providing puberty blockers and hormones at levels that lead to significant health issues and can result in sterilization. This is not “comprehensive health care,” as touted by the Biden administration.

As Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has written, “The law must protect the freedom of parents to seek, children to receive, and doctors to practice good medicine. The law must protect the ability of doctors and families to help children feel comfortable as what they actually are—namely, male and female children—not to radically and irreversibly transform their bodies.”

Encouraging the development of emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills is an important feature of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This therapeutic approach is specifically designed to help people with suicidal thoughts, mood disorders and self-harm tendencies, which frequently impact people exploring trans identities. Rather than helping distressed children and young adults with DBT and other established and effective counseling approaches, trans activists seek to fast track them into social and medical transition. 

Instead of issuing decrees that echo activist slogans, national and state policies should ensure that emotionally vulnerable youth have full access to the therapy services they need to feel comfortable in their bodies and prohibit adults from transitioning minors.