Massachusetts Senator Says Sex Change Treatments for Minors Are a 'Human Right'

Ed Markey's new bill aims to fund research for 'trans youth'

Sen. Ed Markey at 2019 Boston Pride parade (Ed Markey Facebook)
July 6, 2023

Sex change treatments for minors, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, are a "human right," according to Massachusetts Democratic senator Ed Markey.

Markey on June 26 introduced a bill that would provide $125 million to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to "research barriers to gender-affirming care and the impact of those barriers on health." That research, Markey said, would address "escalating attacks by lawmakers around the country" who have passed "laws or policies … banning gender-affirming care for youth." For Markey, such "care" is a "human right."

"Trans health is health, and health care is a human right," Markey said in a statement announcing the bill. "We will not have true health equity for all until we have eliminated the health disparities trans and nonbinary people face."

Markey, a staunch liberal, has for years endorsed Medicare for All, a government-run health care program that would replace almost all other plans and cost trillions of dollars annually. His June statement suggests that he would include in the program taxpayer-funded coverage for child sex change treatments, given that the Democrat last year argued that his Medicare for All bill would "guarantee health care in the United States as a fundamental human right to all."

Many medical experts, however, say puberty blockers and hormone therapy treatments for children can cause long-term health problems, including infertility and low bone metabolism. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also acknowledged that the treatments can "be stressful and can lead to lower self-esteem and increased risk-taking," and pediatricians in Canada and the United Kingdom believe the treatments may solidify feelings of gender dysphoria by halting the natural hormonal changes that occur during the teenage years.

Those concerns did not stop Markey, who did not return a request for comment, from barreling forward with a bill that he says would "protect, defend, and expand the fundamental right" for transgender youth to "get the care they need." Left-wing senators such as Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) cosponsored the legislation, which also received endorsements from a number of pro-transgenderism groups.

Trevor Project vice president of advocacy and government affairs Kasey Suffredini, for example, said the bill "sends a powerful message of affirmation and acceptance to trans young people across the nation." The Trevor Project has issued transgender language guides, which colleges such as the University of Colorado have echoed in materials that say ignoring someone's pronouns is "an act of violence." The group has also published research that supports the use of child sex change treatments without disclosing that it accepts tens of thousands of dollars in funding from companies that make drugs and medical products used in the gender transition process, the Washington Free Beacon reported in April.

Markey is far from the only prominent Democrat who has in recent weeks defended puberty blockers and hormone therapy treatments for children. During a June 22 press conference, for example, Kentucky Democratic governor Andy Beshear said those treatments are "basic medical decisions."