America as a whole is trending more socially conservative, and it isn't just because of older, whiter people. This week, the Muslim-majority town of Hamtramck, Michigan, half of whose population are immigrants, decided that no flags representing specific religious, ethnic, or identity groups (for instance, Pride flags) should fly on government property. We agree. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is fighting against the growing consensus, pushing highly controversial gender ideology from the top down, both at home and abroad.
Stateside, a U.S. Space Force general said earlier this month she takes access to "gender-affirming care" into consideration when it comes to appointing officers. Overseas, the State Department is not content to celebrate "Pride Month" by merely tweeting videos about gender identity and hoisting rainbow flags at U.S. embassies from Uruguay to the Holy See. They are intent on embedding gender ideology in U.S. foreign policy.
For starters, the Biden administration aims to take on a straw-man of "conversion therapy" with a new worldwide plan to promote so-called "gender-affirming care" through U.S. diplomacy.
Last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken commemorated the day known as "IDAHOBIT"—International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia—by noting that President Joe Biden had directed the U.S. government to promote an end to so-called "conversion therapy practices" around the world.
What does Biden mean by "conversion therapy?" An Executive Order he issued last year defines it as any "efforts to suppress or change an individual's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression." This definition is dangerously broad. It assumes that no one ever wants to change their sexual desires or the ways they express masculinity or femininity.
A U.N. report on "conversion therapy practices" further clarifies Biden's meaning. The report equates "faith-based" practices with forcible methods. That is, it puts the use of "electric shocks [and] nausea-inducing or paralysis-inducing drugs" on par with "submitt[ing] to the tenets of a spiritual advisor."
Like this U.N. "expert," the Biden administration conflates the horrors of someone being unwillingly and forcibly "converted" from a sexual orientation with voluntary counseling to help people control their sexual urges or to accept their actual, sexed bodies.
As an alternative to such broadly defined "conversion therapy practices," the State Department has pledged to promote "SOGIESC [sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics] affirming care," and to provide "resources for families on expanding supportive and affirming behaviors with LGBTQI+ youth."
That means promoting "gender-affirming care." And what is that, exactly? As with other radical ideas, the positive-sounding moniker conceals a darker reality.
Radical gender ideologues believe that as soon as a young person announces that he or she was "born in the wrong body," or takes on any of a growing list of new "gender identities," then the duty of a parent, teacher, or doctor is to affirm that belief and assist the young person in conforming to it. They consider any other sensible approach, such as "watchful waiting" or talk therapy, to be "conversion therapy," and thus unacceptable. In other words, when someone is experiencing a conflict between his perception of himself and his physical body, the Biden administration believes the only acceptable thing to do is to change the body rather than the perception.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, a powerful lobbying group, tries to dictate standards for "gender-affirming care" for children, adolescents, and adults alike. This begins with a social transition (adopting a new name, pronouns and clothing) and then often progresses to the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or surgery. Surgeries include double mastectomies, castration, and reconstruction of genitals into a non-functioning approximation of the opposite sex's. It's not for the squeamish.
These chemical and surgical interventions are not reversible. They frequently lead to sterilization, and many people who pursue them experience severe and painful complications. Indeed, recipients who stay on this pathway tend to develop life-long medical and pharmaceutical dependency. Maybe that's why the medical industry pushes "gender-affirming care" so hard, despite the Hippocratic Oath to "first, do no harm."
In his Pride Month proclamation, Biden spoke of "medically necessary health care" for "transgender youth." Growing evidence suggests, however, that the hurried affirmation of gender-confused teens has harmed rather than helped them. Unsurprisingly, confused children need time and counseling to come to terms with who they are amidst a cacophony of "affirming" voices who won't be there if they later realize that they've made a mistake—as many do.
Acknowledging this fact, several European countries, including progressive darlings Norway and Sweden, have slammed the brakes on transitioning minors, loudly refuting the claim that the drugs and surgery involved are "medically necessary."
Secretary of State Blinken has stated "that conversion therapy practices are... ineligible for support through taxpayer-funded foreign assistance grants and contracts." The truth is, the only "conversion" happening here is a woke U.S. government attempting to convert other countries—many of them traditional, conservative, and religious—to a toxic ideology using foreign aid and rapidly depleting diplomatic capital. As U.S. foreign assistance grants and contracts become increasingly riddled with the language of gender ideology, other countries are quickly realizing that Blinken and Biden's foreign policy is just as flimsy as their "evidence-based health care."
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek