While testifying before a Tennessee Health Committee Wednesday, Matt Walsh asked Democrat Rep. Caleb Hemmer if he thought a 16-year-old could meaningfully consent to having body parts removed. The question was met with total silence.
Walsh was testifying in favor of HB0001, a bill that seeks to prohibit doctors from performing experimental sex changes on minors under 19. Hemmer, in an attempt to discredit Walsh, brought up a recent hit piece written about Walsh that claimed he believes 16-year-olds should get married and have children.
“I'm curious if 16 is an adult in your view, why does this bill have the minor defined as 18?” Hemmer asked Walsh.
After clarifying that he was speaking about how people historically would get married and have children much younger than we do today, Walsh explained that the brain is not fully developed until age 25, and argued that there should even be a discussion about whether 18 is too young for youth to consent to sex change procedures.
“Certainly before 18, it’s absurd. I mean, do you think that a 16 year old can meaningfully consent to having their body parts removed?” Walsh asked Hemmer.
After a long, uncomfortable silence, Walsh was told by the legislative body: “We ask the questions.”
In another part of his testimony, Walsh was asked to speak about the risk of suicidality among trans-identified people before and after medical transition.
“The claim that you're doing the chemical castration, drugs or surgery or hormonal intervention in the claim that this prevents suicide or has positive psychological effects down the line is utterly, totally baseless,” replied Walsh. “There are no credible long term studies that bear that out, and one of the reasons for that is that there couldn't possibly be any credible long term studies because we've never done this to kids on this scale ever before in history.”
“So this current, shall we say crop of children, they are the guinea pigs. This is all experimental. We're sort of trying it out on them to see if it works,” he added, citing a failed attempt by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to prove that child sex changes are psychologically beneficial and reduce suicidality.
Walsh then went on to highlight the inconsistency of the transition-or-suicide narrative when considered alongside the gender-affirming care proponent’s argument that the recent enormous surge in youth identifying as transgender is not due to social contagion but rather to increased societal acceptance.
“If…there have always been…millions of trans people, and if it's also true that if we don't affirm them, that would cause them to commit suicide, then we should be able to look back in history and find just this unbroken, incredible epidemic of children mysteriously killing themselves because they weren't being affirmed as trans,” said Walsh. “That didn't exist. I mean, the youth suicide rate has increased exponentially alongside trans affirmation.”
A further attempt to discredit Walsh came from Democrat Rep. John Ray Clemmons, who asked Walsh what his education background was and what he felt qualified him to speak on this issue.
“My background that qualifies me to speak to this is that I'm a human being with a brain and common sense, and I have a soul. And so therefore, I think it's a really bad idea to chemically castrate children. That is my experience,” Walsh replied.
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