While living in California more than 30 years ago, I had access to sound, effective, time-tested psychotherapy. Because of it, I walked away from the transgender life I had lived as Laura Jensen for eight years in San Francisco.
Yet if I had been prevented from having access to such people and materials, as Assembly Bill 2943 proposes, the bill would have been a “stay trans and die” bill for me. I wanted to have access to restoration and redemption from my transgender life, but AB 2943 would make that illegal. The bill intends to prevent any access to what is potentially lifesaving psychotherapy for people who identify as transgender, like I did.
California Family Council points out that AB 2943 prevents counselors from helping adult clients deal with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion, and prohibits authors from selling a book, or even a church from hosting a ticketed conference, addressing these topics.
I started my journey toward redemption and the restoration of my male gender on April 7, 1990, with the help of two outstanding Christian therapists to whom I owe my life. The healing psychotherapy provided me has resulted in 32 years of sobriety, complete restoration of my male gender for 28 years, and marriage to a wonderful woman for 21 years. I speak out for the others who feel hopeless and stuck in a lifestyle that doesn’t fit them anymore.
If AB 2943 were in place back in the 1990s, most likely I would have died from suicide or, as this bill proposes, once I embraced my life as a trans-woman, I was sentenced for life. The bill’s authors want to make sure the gender-dysphoric people they claim to be “helping” have no way out, even if that’s what they desperately want. Only an uncaring legislature would sign such a draconian bill into law.
People Detransition All the Time
If you think detransitions are rare, just Google “detransition” and see the multitude of videos from courageous formerly trans people who tell of the peace they have found with their God-given gender through a combination of counseling and faith. If this bill becomes law, these people will no longer have access to help they choose, because apparently some in California’s government think no one should be allowed to change his or her mind about what constitutes being at peace with one’s sex.
“People have the right to seek the counsel of their choice, but this bill substitutes the government for personal choice,” says Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver. People entering into psychotherapy for gender dysphoria would no longer have the freedom of setting their treatment goals if those goals differ from the government-mandated one.
AB 2943 prevents access guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution to all opinions, no matter if opposing voices disagree. AB2943 is an affront to Americans’ civil rights, religious rights, and Constitution-guaranteed freedom of speech. This state law would impose one viewpoint and outlaw all others. The only viewpoint it would permit is that people who express a different gender must be affirmed and guided toward transition to the fake gender. No alternative path is allowed, regardless of the person’s wishes. Once someone considers a gender change, he or she must pursue it or else.
AB 2932 has teeth. It proposes to financially ruin those who provide information contrary to the LGBT ideology on gender and sex. Anyone who sells books, counseling services, or anything else that helps someone overcome unwanted transgender identity can be charged with engaging in “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” and be obligated to pay punitive damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Included in the wide net of “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” is the sale of memoirs and personal stories featuring people who left the trans-world and how. Evidence that people return to living happily in their birth gender, like I did, would be suppressed
AB 2943 says “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in” efforts to change sexual behaviors or gender expressions would be illegal under the California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act. It specifically outlaws telling a client about poor outcomes that can arise from gender change or suggesting that psychological counseling is helpful in resolving gender confusion.
While I still have the freedom to speak without fear of punishment, I will tell you what the authors of this bill don’t want you to know.
The Science On Gender Isn’t Settled
When an individual self-identifies as being the other gender, this is not objectively provable through science, medicine, or biological truth. It is simply an idea some people have. It can be a strongly held idea, but it is a fantasy that has serious consequences.
This diverse population has a need to act out their cross-gender masquerade. This should strongly suggest that something much deeper sexually, emotionally, or psychologically is causing this unusual behavior. For some I know personally, deep inside remains unresolved grief and pain that just will not go away. Unresolved pathologies need to be discovered and treated before cross-gender hormones are taken and any gender surgeries are performed, to ensure these drastic alterations to one’s body are actually addressing the real needs of the person.
I hear from those whose lives have been broken because gender-change treatment was the only option provided. Years afterward, when they find themselves discontent or depressed even though they are accepted as the other gender, the lucky ones seek access to effective psychotherapy. The unfortunate ones live a despondent life, or fall prey to suicide ideation. Some quietly return to their birth gender, wondering “What happened?”
We do not know enough to say for certain that gender-change surgery and hormones are the right choices for every person who considers them. Significant gaps in scientific knowledge and research exist regarding transgender health. A review of 2,405 articles published through June 2016 focused on transgender health and concludes that “most of the published work that exists is not primary research, and there are very few studies that look at long-term outcomes.”
California AB 2943 would prevent me from sharing that self-identified transgender people largely suffer psychiatric, psychological, or sexual disorders that are not effectively treated as prescribed by the standards of care issued by the politically driven World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). A 2014 study showed that 62.7 percent have co-existing psychiatric disorders such as depression, phobias, adjustment disorders, and extreme anxiety.
People Deserve the Freedom to Consider All Options
Gender dysphoria or cross-gender expression can evolve from difficult family situations where children are caught between battling parents, placed in foster care, or live in other types of unsettling environments that result in the child feeling depressed and anxious over a long period.
A 2016 study shows a high prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in a community-recruited sample of young transgender women. Forty-one percent of participants had one or more mental health or substance dependence diagnoses. The researchers concluded: “Improving access to routine primary care, diagnostic screening, psychotherapy, and pharmacologic treatments, and retention in care in clinical community-based, pediatric, and adolescent medicine settings are urgently needed to address mental health and substance dependence disorders in this population.”
When I ask the individuals who contact me about having difficulty in their chosen gender, 100 percent of the time they can pinpoint a situation in their childhood that strongly contributed to development of gender incongruence. California is outlawing access to information and counseling that would help this population recover from the effects of childhood events.
People would not be allowed to hear about the failure of sex change to resolve gender confusion or about the high rate of attempted suicide after taking cross-gender hormones and undergoing gender change surgeries. It is important to understand that transgender suicide is not caused by discrimination or family or societal rejection. According to suicide.org, 90 percent of all people who die by their own hand, including those who identify as transgender, have untreated mental illness.
AB 2943 would not allow me to share that autogynephilia, an erotic or affection phenomenon, can lead to a misguided request for gender-change surgery. Autogynephilic men fall in love with the idea of themselves as women. They will seek sex reassignment because they are sexually aroused by the idea of having breast implants and other cosmetic surgery to feminize their appearance. They are the object of their own affection.
From my observations in speaking with people with this condition, they realize after surgery, often years after, that the clinicians who approved and supported their surgical gender changes are clueless about diagnosing autogynephilia. For them, cross-gender hormone therapy and gender surgeries weren’t appropriate treatment. Because the clinicians affirmed their misplaced desire to become women, their lives were upended and severely impacted.
Consumer fraud is serious business, and that’s why California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act exists. But to use it to mandate state-determined psychotherapy goals and to call public debate a “false and deceptive practice” is a mistake. The state has overstepped. Cross-gender expression is too complex a subject to be legislated. This bill would harm the very individuals it proposes to help and protect.