Rob Hoogland can't turn back time and save his daughter. He wishes more than anything that he could. A year ago, he and his wife had a perfectly healthy child. Now, "that perfectly healthy child has been altered and destroyed for absolutely no good reason." And millions of parents are getting up every day completely oblivious to the fact that their daughter could be next.
She was 12 when a school counselor told Rob's daughter she was transgender. They picked out a new name and started treating her like a boy at school -- without ever calling home. Two years later, she and her parents were in court, fighting over whether she could take testosterone. Rob said no. The judges said yes. Now, he says emotionally, "Sometimes I just want to scream so that other parents understand what's going on... She can never go back to being a girl in the healthy body that she should have had. She's going to forever have a lower voice. She'll forever have to shave because of facial hair. She won't be able to have children...."
What do I do in five or 10 years, he told Jeremiah Keenan, when she changes her mind, "and she turns to me and says, 'Dad or mom, why did none of you do anything to stop this?'" And Rob will say, "I did everything that I could... and then, when there was nothing more I could do, I continued on -- because I didn't want any other parent to go through what I went through."
His message to every mom and dad is: Don't think it can't happen to you. It can. And unless our leaders have the courage to step in and stop it, our kids will continue to be mutilated, sterilized, and destroyed over their parents' fiercest objections. In Alabama, they've heard enough horror stories like Rob's to realize it's time to do something, now. In the House and Senate, state legislators are pushing a bill called the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act that would stop children under 19 from getting hormone treatments or transition surgeries.
Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg was on the ground last Wednesday to testify in rooms so packed that dozens of people had to wait outside. Everyone from pediatricians and endocrinologists spoke, along with detransitioners of every age. Their stories were powerful and heartbreaking -- beautiful young girls like Sydney Wright, who said she can't even wrap her head around all that she's done to herself. Her before and after photos, which she included as part of her testimony, stopped everyone in their tracks. "I was struggling with a big hole in my heart," she said. But instead of helping her, doctors pushed her down a path that has permanently scarred her. "Nobody told me," she lamented, "that most people outgrow their feelings."
For her and for so many others, this isn't a partisan issue. Believe it or not, Peter explained on "Washington Watch," "Sydney is actually a lesbian and still identifies as a lesbian. She made clear that she's not opposing this bill...because she's against the LGBT community. She's part of the LGBT community. But she opposes it because of the physical harm that it causes to the bodies of transgender kids."
State Rep. Wes Allen (R), one of the lead sponsors of the bill, says, "I was shocked when I found out doctors in Alabama were prescribing these types of drugs to children. This is something you hear about happening in California or New York, but it is happening right here...and it's time we put a stop to [it]." These are kids like Sydney who are struggling with confusion. "We should help [them] with therapeutic treatment from qualified mental health professionals," he insisted, "not allow these children's bodies to be permanently mutilated."
Several members of the House and Senate agreed -- passing the measure out of both committees and recommending it for a full floor vote. In the Senate, even Democrats -- including a pharmacist who obviously understands the dangers of this agenda -- were thoroughly on board with the idea, voting 10-1 to move full speed ahead.
As Peter pointed out, "One thing that we have emphasized with respect to this bill -- although some opponents are portraying it as sort of a radical intervention -- it's actually quite modest, because it targets only these physical interventions and only for minors. So, this bill does nothing to prevent children, for example, from going through what's called a social transition. Children are free, with the support of their parents, to change the way they wear their hair, to change the style of clothing they wear, to change their name, to ask their local school to identify them as the opposite sex, and so forth. Nothing in this bill would prevent that at all. Nothing in this bill would prevent adults who have reached the age of majority from being able to have these radical medical transitions or medical procedures themselves if they choose to as adults. So this is narrowly targeted at radical medical interventions that harm the bodies of children -- of minors -- who...really are not capable of giving informed consent to this kind of procedure."
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on the Family Research Council.