Washington State vs. Parents on Gender Transitioning

There is nothing more emotionally stabilizing than parental love.  And yet, in the Evergreen state, where I was born and raised, ideologues are severing the sacred bond between parents and children.

Despite massive pushback, Washington state governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, recently signed the insidious and audacious Senate Bill 5599 into law, disregarding and insulting parents outright.

Inslee, you may recall, held on to emergency powers amid Covid-19 for 975 days -- the longest span for any governor.  A third-term governor, he is now signaling that gender ideology trumps the rights of parents.

An assault on children and the nuclear family, SB5599 clears the path for youth shelters and host homes to hide children between the ages of 13 and 18 from their parents, while undergoing euphemistically termed “protected health care services,” related to gender dysphoria and gender transitioning.

To be sure, this bill has little to do with protecting children.  Instead, it exploits their insecurities and vulnerabilities when they are most fragile -- in middle school and high school.
Curiously, gender dysphoria, loosely defined as the distress caused when someone’s birth gender does not match their gender identity, has been exploding among adolescents over the past few years.

As a former middle school teacher in the 1990s, I do not recall a single case of gender dysphoria among my students.  Some struggled to keep up with daily homework assignments, while others could not make it to class by the first bell. Many were moody, self-conscious, eager-to-please peers, and uncertain how to navigate the world around them.

Yet ideologues in Washington state operate under the false assumption that 13 is not too young to begin the inhumane, regimented, all-consuming, and mostly irreversible process of gender transitioning, while parents are left out entirely.

The bill is a snub to parents if ever there was one. 

Imagine the horror and heartache of not knowing where your child is for weeks, months, even years, only to reunite in the future without previous knowledge that your son or daughter has changed genders.

Specifically, SB5599 maintains that parents of runaways or homeless youth from across the country, not just Washington state, do not need to be notified if there is a “compelling” reason.

“Compelling reasons include when a minor is seeking or receiving protected health care services,” reads the bill’s awkwardly worded summary.  

The new law also glosses over the fact that puberty-blocking medication that suppresses the release of sex hormones estrogen and testosterone is analogous to medical or chemical castration.  Why does the state encourage such barbarism on adolescents?

Puberty blockers deemed “protected health care services” by the state halt the development of breasts and menstruation in adolescent women.  In teen males, puberty blockers stunt the development of facial and body hair, the Adam’s apple, and male genitalia.

State representative Jim Walsh, a Republican, who represents the 19th District, described the legislation as “indefensible,” on Twitter recently.



“This bill allows adults to prey on special-needs children or children with trauma, mood disorders and other mental health issues.  Shutting out parents and severing this critical relationship for children in order to do irreversible procedures is destructive and often deadly for these children,” reads a statement from Conservative Ladies of Washington.

Conversely: “This legislation affirms our commitment to ensuring children have a safe and stable place to go when they are not welcome at home,” said state senator Mark Liias, a Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor, in a press release on May 9.

According to a report by Reuters and Komodo Health Inc. based on insurance claims, 776 top surgeries, or mastectomies, were performed on girls with gender dysphoria ages 13 to 17, from 2019 to 2021.  During the same time, 56 genital surgeries occurred among boys. (The report does not include procedures that were paid for out of pocket.)

In 2021, per the same study some 42,000 children and teens were diagnosed with gender dysphoria -- nearly three times the number in 2017.

What is driving the explosion of gender dysphoria among adolescents?

It seems that’s where politicians like Liias should focus their energies.  But instead, they are affirming gender transitioning measures that target vulnerable youth, which could lead to a lifetime of pain, confusion, and misery -- as we are seeing more from detranstioners.

Fortunately, pushback is coming from former trans kids like 18-year-old Chloe Cole, who detransitioned after undergoing years of puberty blockers and an irreversible double mastectomy at the age of 15, according to reporting by CNA.

Cole is sounding the alarm about gender transition procedures which she now calls “child abuse” and “medical experimentation” -- a stark contrast to Liias’ “safe and stable” rhetoric.

 Elizabeth Economou writes from Seattle.

Image: Ted Eytan

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