<< BreakPoint Daily Commentary

Are State Laws Overstepping Parental Rights in Colorado?

Last month, the governor of Colorado signed a bill into law that legally requires teachers to call children whatever they want to be called, regardless of their legal name and without parental permission.  Not only does the language of the law cement “gender identity” as a legitimate category, but it also defines it as a child’s “innate sense” of gender without reference to his or her biological reality. The law also specifies that charter schools, along with all public schools, must comply. And, the law applies to all employees, educators, and even contractors, both during the school day and all extracurricular activities. Anyone who does not comply is, according to the law, guilty of discrimination. 

The law does not include criteria for a name demanded by a student to be binding. So, in theory, a student could identify as “her” on Monday, “ze” on Tuesday, “cat” on Wednesday and Thursday, and “he” at the game on Friday night. If teachers cannot keep up with the demands and call a student by a different name, they would be guilty of something akin to using a racial slur for a student of ethnic minority. 

Perhaps the worst part of the bill is the absence of any mention of parents. Nowhere does the bill discuss a parent’s role in a child’s preferred name. The bill empowers teachers, educators, and coaches to treat kids however they think best, but leaves parents out of the discussion completely. This only assumes an idea dominant in state-run education, that children belong to the state, and that state employees know better than the moms and dads who raise, provide, and care for children.  

According to its authors, this law is “necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health, or safety.” However, in the same month that Colorado passed this bill to fast-track children into confusion, the United Kingdom pumped their breaks on similar practices, citing a significant lack of evidence. A newly issued U.K. National Health Service policy states that it will no longer prescribe children puberty-blocking drugs to treat gender dysphoria because “there is not evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness” of puberty blockers.  

Also in April, the long-awaited Cass Review of the UK’s controversial Tavistock gender clinic found that the “gender-affirming” model is built on “shaky foundations.” Far from settled science, the evidence supporting the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change surgeries to “treat” gender dysphoria is “remarkably weak.” According to the report, most of the studies cited in support of social, chemical, or surgical “transition” were found to lack the quality required to reliably and safely guide clinicians and families in caring for young people with gender dysphoria.   

And yet, as countries around the world follow the science, states like Colorado regressively choose questionable ideology over the health and safety of kids. As one recent study found, socially transitioning minors, such as changing wardrobes, name, or behaviors to “match” a self-proclaimed “gender identity,” does not lead to better mental health outcomes. Other research has suggested that youth suicide rates are higher in states where minors are permitted to pursue gender “transition” without parental involvement. Whether social, chemical, or surgical, “transition” procedures harm, they do not help. To legislate as if they do, claiming the science is settled when it is not and keeping parents in the dark, is irresponsible, unethical, and dangerous. 

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Jared Hayden. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Bhupi
Publish Date: May 21, 2024

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.



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