A group of detransitioned individuals, who have gone through sex changes and come out the other side wishing they had not undergone those procedures, testified on Wednesday in favor of Nebraska's proposed ban on child sex changes. A large crowd of trans activists, however, gathered at the Nebraska State Capitol Wednesday to protest the "Let Them Grow Act."
State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Millard proposed LB574, which would prohibit medical professionals from prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to gender-confused youth under the age of 19. It would also ban sex change surgeries such as bilateral mastectomies and genital surgeries from being done on minors.
As the crowd of protesters chanted outside, the committee heard emotional testimony from several people who have been directly harmed by the so-called gender-affirming care that the bill seeks to ban.
Luka Hein, a detransitioned young woman from Nebraska, gave a powerful testimony about being a mentally ill teenager in need of help but instead only receiving affirmation, surgery and cross-sex hormones.
“At 16, the very first medical intervention I ever had was a double mastectomy. And a few months later, I was put on cross sex hormones,” Hein told the committee, adding that she does not yet know whether she’ll ever be able to have children.
"My parents were baited with the threat of me committing suicide despite the fact that I maintained I was never suicidal. They were told ‘would you rather have a dead daughter or living son?’ These are not the words of a medical professional but the words of an activist. I was just a teenager who needed actual help, not surgery. I needed that chance to grow up safe and whole. But it was taken away from me in the name of gender-affirming care. I will have to live with this forever."
Erin Brewer began her testimony by describing herself as a “former trans kid” who started identifying as a boy in first grade after a brutal sexual assault. Brewer said she was thankful that she hadn’t been placed on the medical pathway, but instead received psychotherapeutic support to help her understand that her “gender dysphoria was the result of a sexual assault, and not because [she] was inherently flawed, or born in the wrong body.”
“It is our job as adults to give children the message that no matter how intense and how difficult their feelings are, that they can work through them without disassociating from themselves to become a different person, without irreversibly damaging themselves in the process,” said Brewer. “We know that encouraging children to run away from their pain and struggles is not a good solution. Even if it makes them feel better in the short term.”
The committee also heard from Cat Cattinson, a detransitioned young woman who told of how learning about gender dysphoria online at age 13 was “an epiphany” for her, a simple answer to her social difficulties and her body discomfort.
Cattinson called the transition or suicide narrative “a pervasive manipulation tactic based on pseudoscience,” and went on to describe the debilitating effects of taking testosterone.
“I accept that I'm a woman and that is an immutable biological fact. I'm extremely grateful I was not offered puberty blockers, hormones or surgery as a minor. If I had been I would likely suffer from infertility, osteoporosis, brain damage or any number of unknown health issues as these interventions are experimental. No minor should be allowed to suffer permanent damage at the hands of doctors,” Cattinson concluded.
Scott Newgent, a trans-identified female, told of almost dying after undergoing a surgical sex change. Newgent underwent a phalloplasty surgery and showed the committee a scarred forearm previously stripped of skin and flesh, explaining that the recurrent infections will likely one day be fatal.
“We need to let these children have time to learn to love their natural bodies and embrace their differences. With gender interventions, there are no pauses,” said Newgent, who went on to argue that the American Academy of Pediatrics, a group that officially endorses child sex changes, could not be trusted because it follows the advice of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
Newgent criticized WPATH for recognizing eunuch as a valid gender identity even children could possess.
“For you to do the right thing today, you will be considered a bigot. But tomorrow you will be a hero,” Newgent concluded.
Mario Presents, of Gays Against Groomers, a coalition of gay, bisexual and trans people dedicated to the protection of children from LGBTQ ideology, told the committee his group supports LB574 because “it provides our children the opportunity to grow up naturally and not subject them to untested, controversial and sometimes disastrous procedures.”
“Never before in history have so many young people been rushed to hormone blockers, chest binders, and double mastectomies as they are now. Children are not an experiment, nor will we allow them to become lifelong pharmaceutical dependents. Join history, and protect the children of the future by letting them grow up into healthy adults. The way that they're meant to be. Just let them grow,” said Present.
Atoa Vaiaso, a detransitioned man who took cross-sex hormones in the 1980s, told the committee he wished someone had warned him of the consequences of taking female hormones.
“Don't do to the kids what I did to my body, don't take away from the children a chance to change their mind,” he concluded.
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