Kentucky Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear used “emotional blackmail” to cloak his extremist position about kids with gender dysphoria in “moderate” language this week during an interview on MSNBC.
On Sunday, the governor went on “Inside with Jen Psaki” to discuss his recent election to a second term in the historically red state, which voted for President Donald Trump by 26 points three years ago.
“One of the issues that came up was of course trans rights. You did not hesitate to veto a sweeping anti-trans bill passed by the Kentucky state legislature,” Psaki said. “Your opponents still kind of came after you. … It didn’t work. What does that tell you about the effectiveness of this kind of an attack?”
Psaki was referencing the governor’s March veto of a bill designed to protect children from transgender medical interventions, which carry painful lifelong consequences. The legislation vetoed by Beshear — which the legislature ultimately passed anyway, overriding the governor by an overwhelming majority — bars transgender surgeries and wrong-sex hormones for children under 18.
On MSNBC, Beshear went on to engage in what Amber Duke, the Washington editor at the American Spectator, described as “emotional blackmail based on bad science.”
“All children are children of God,” Beshear said, twisting the compassionate-sounding words before spreading routine falsehoods linking child protection laws to increases in suicide. “These are individuals that are already at the margins. The studies show [they] suffer more mental health issues, are more at risk for suicide.”
“We ought to be in the suicide prevention business and not further harming kids who are going through too much,” he added, accusing those who would protect children from harm of causing harm themselves.
Beshear’s comments exploit the real emotional turmoil of parents who are bullied into quietly feeding their children’s mental distress by dishonest fearmongering about suicides. Activists and politicians like Beshear rely on debunked narratives to pressure parents and voters into supporting damaging, premature interventions that leave children with permanent complications. Contrary to the lies that refusing to “affirm” a minor’s gender dysphoria amplifies his or her risk of suicide, data show it’s actually such “affirmation” that does exactly what activists warn.
A report from the Heritage Foundation last year found that “easing access to cross-sex treatments without parental consent significantly increases suicide rates.”
“There is a 14% increase in suicide rates among young people by 2020 in states that have a provision allowing minors to access care without parental consent relative to states that do not,” wrote Heritage Senior Research Fellow Jay Greene. “Easier access to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones by minors actually exacerbated suicide rates.”
Another major long-term study out of Sweden showed that people who underwent transgender surgeries were 19 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population.
But those realities don’t matter to Beshear, who is recycling a debunked talking point to frame his Republican opponents as radicals for protecting children from damaging and permanent procedures.