On Monday, members of the Satanic Temple gathered in the Idaho state capitol to protest a bill that would ban child sex changes, performing a "gender affirmation ritual" in the building’s Rotunda.
Video taken by TPUSA Frontlines' Rebecca Brannon showed one blue-haired member of the temple stating, "we will continue to be light bringers to our community. We will continue to be adversaries against injustice. We will continue to be heard, even when those around us mean to silence us."
"Bodily autonomy is sacred," she added, to which one man in the audience hit a bell.
"We will fight against our oppressors for this value, as it is a deeply held religious belief. Take a moment to observe and listen around you," she continued, with the man hitting the bell again.
Counter-protestors gathered around the upper level of the rotunda, carrying signs and American flags.
One sign read, "Idaho is God’s Country," while another stated, "You are not a mistake," citing the book of Genesis.
"We have just as much right to be here as they do," the woman added, gesturing towards the people on the upper level. "Religious plurality is a value that we uphold and we seek to serve that."
"So thank you for attending our Satanic gender affirmation ritual, everyone on the other corresponding floors," she said, holding up the sign of the horns hand gesture and adding, "hail Satan to that."
Speaking to the small crowd assembled in front of her, she instructed them to write down their "dead names," "dead pronouns," "false identities," and "whatever doesn’t serve you anymore."
Telling the crowd to close their eyes and "reflect on this act," adding, "an identity that is forced on you, even though it is unauthentic to who you are, no institution or church may force a false identity on you."
"We are forged in hellfire, and come out tempered with the blade of wisdom. You are reclaiming yourselves," she added, instructing the crowd to rip up the piece of paper and place it into a glass jar.
"I take all of these forced false identities and watch them dissipate into the waters of self-compassion," she said, pouring water into the glass jar, later shaking it with dirt added in.
"Many will see this as a blasphemy. Blasphemy should be seen as a reexamination of the supposed sacred. We fall outside of prescribed binaries and delusions of old. This should not be demonized or othered. You are your own master," she said.
She continued on to tell the crowd to go out and "celebrate" by doing something important to themselves, adding, "so yeah, f*ck the haters basically."
"Hail Satan, but more importantly - hail yourselves," she concluded, with the crowd repeating the chant.
Speaking to the counter-protestors, the Satanists called them "anti-American," and said, "you’re worse than the communists you claim to hate."
The "ritual" was held in response to the "Vulnerable Child Protection Act," which was introduced last week by Republican state Rep. Bruce Skaug, according to Fox News.
The bill would make offering puberty blockers or sex change surgeries to minors a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The bill aims to protect "children from harmful pharmaceutical and surgical interventions for the purpose of changing the appearance of a child's sex," but would not "interfere with medically necessary treatments for precocious puberty, endometriosis, disorders of sex development, or some chancers," a fact sheet from the Idaho Family Policy Center states.
According to Fox News, a social media advertisement for the so-called ritual stated that it was being held to "remind [Idahoans] that not everyone uses religion to condemn, but to accept."
According to the Satanic Temple Ministry, a "gender affirming ritual" serves "as both celebration of the self and a declaration to the self and others of one’s true identity. Their purpose is to dispel any shame or stigma surrounding one’s gender identity due to religious discrimination or cultural ignorance."
The temple has also created a "Gender Affirming Ritual Series" that can be done at home, which provides rituals that should be performed before taking hormones for the first time, undergoing a sex change surgery, or changing a name.
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