Gender ideology, which touches on everything from free speech to women’s sports, has become a major culture war issue. This polarized issue resulted in an array of legislation and legal action creating further division and confusion.

How much do you know about transgender ideology and the legislation governing “gender transitions” for minors? Play this “Two Truths and a Lie” game to find out. 

A. Treatment for gender dysphoria always included “gender affirmation.”
B. In some states, minors can receive medical treatment, including drugs and surgeries to alter their sex characteristics, without parental consent.
C. The vast majority of kids with feelings of discomfort about their sex grow out of these feelings after puberty.

Let’s take these statements one at a time:

A. LIE! “Gender affirmation,” popularized in the last ten years, means treating patients as though they really are the sex with which they identify. For years, the preferred clinical approach to the treatment of childhood gender dysphoria was a range of talk therapies and psychotherapies designed to address underlying causes. These were effectively combined with “watchful waiting,” allowing gender-distressed children to complete puberty, after which the majority no longer desired to be the opposite sex.


Washington, Oregon, Maine, and California allow minors to receive medical treatment without parental consent. 

But in most states, because it is well understood that there are some decisions to which a minor cannot consent, the alteration of sex characteristics generally requires parental consent before the age of majority. 

C. TRUTH! As many as 94% of young people expressing gender discomfort will grow out of this post-puberty. That’s why talk therapy, and “watchful waiting” can be beneficial (and less harmful than other medical interventions like drugs and surgeries). Sadly, gender activists conflate exploratory talk therapies aiming to resolve gender dysphoria with “conversion therapy.” Under their influence, cities and states across the country have passed “conversion therapy” bans so broad as to prohibit any talk therapy for gender dysphoria that isn’t geared toward “gender affirmation.” The campaign to ban “conversion therapy” deliberately misuses language to conflate the historic abuse of homosexuals in clinical settings with humane and medically appropriate “watchful waiting” talk therapy for childhood gender dysphoria.

Traditionally, the aim of therapy for childhood gender distress was to help the patient accept his sexed body, not affirm his “gender identity.” Talk therapy rooted in biological reality limits irreversible damage during this difficult time.

Bottom Line: 

Transgender ideology is now firmly entrenched in American law and life. Children who think they’re transgender are being irreparably harmed as healthcare practitioners recklessly alter their sexual characteristics with drugs and surgeries.  

Unfortunately, the polarized nature of the issue has resulted in a patchwork of conflicting legislation governing so-called “gender transitions” that harms minors.  

To learn more, read the Policy Focus on the Current State of Laws Governing Gender Transitions.