The US state has passed law on ‘affirmation’ of children.
The California State Assembly on Friday approved a bill redefining the health, safety, and well-being of children to include “gender identity or gender expression.” Critics say it will enable the state to seize children who have “transitioned” without the approval of their parents.
Assembly Bill 957 was adopted with a vote of 57-16 and sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for signature. It amends Section 3011 of the Family Code to “include a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity or gender expression as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child.”
Family courts use the health and well-being standard to make decisions as to which parent gets custody of children in divorce disputes, or in cases in which parents have their children taken away by the state due to abuse or neglect.
“That is our duty as parents, to affirm our children,” State Representative Lori Wilson, a Democrat from the San Francisco Bay Area, said in a speech on the Assembly floor.
State Senator Scott Wiener, a fellow San Francisco Democrat, co-sponsored the bill. He was behind the 2022 ‘trans refuge bill’ which gave immunity from other states’ laws to minors seeking ‘gender affirming care’ in California.
Republicans have criticized the proposal, arguing that family court judges already have the discretion to make that determination. With only 18 seats in the 80-member chamber, however, there was little they could do to stop it.
Last month, a school district in the Bay Area paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a parent whose child was “secretly transitioned” without her knowledge or consent. Jessica Konen alleged that the Spreckels Union School District and three of its employees “secretly convinced” her daughter of being bisexual and transgender, referred to her as a boy, instructed her on binding her breasts, and allowed her to use the faculty bathroom.
Teachers allegedly encouraged Konen’s daughter to use a boy’s name, wear clothing for boys, read articles about gender transition, and “not to tell her mother about her new gender identity or new name, saying that her mother might not be supportive of her and that she couldn’t trust her mother.”
When the school eventually informed Konen, she claimed that she went along with it out of fear that the state might take the child away. The girl “began to return to her original self” after March 2020, when California switched to online lessons due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image credit: Kyle