Rubén Gallego Touts Endorsement From Group That Backs Puberty Blockers, Transgender Surgeries for Minors

(@HRC X)
May 21, 2024

Arizona Rep. Rubén Gallego (D.), who has undergone what one newspaper called a "moderate reinvention" during his Senate race, is touting an endorsement from a left-wing group that supports puberty blockers for children and has defended genital reconstruction surgery for kids who suffer from "gender dysmorphia."

The Human Rights Campaign in April endorsed Gallego for Senate, hailing him as a "relentless ally" of its "community." Gallego touted the post on his social media accounts and recently added the endorsement to his campaign website.

The campaign, the largest LGBTQ lobbying group in the country, is one of the groups pushing puberty blockers and transgender surgeries for minors. It makes the disputed claims that puberty blockers are "safe" and "fully reversible" and can be "life-saving." A growing number of experts have raised concerns about the potential harmful effects of blockers, the New York Times reported. The Human Rights Campaign also endorses chest and genital surgeries for teenagers if a doctor deems the procedures necessary "to reduce the impacts of significant gender dysphoria, including anxiety, depression, and suicidality."

Gallego touts the endorsement even as an overwhelming majority of Americans say they oppose providing these controversial services to children. According to a Washington Post poll, 68 percent of Americans oppose puberty blockers for children ages 10-14.

Arizona has become a flashpoint for the debate over transgender medical interventions for children. The State Legislature passed bills in 2022 to outlaw gender reassignment surgeries for minors and ban males from competing in girls' sports. Democratic governor Katie Hobbs, who took office in 2023, has vetoed several bills that left-wingers have deemed "anti-trans," including one that prohibits biological males from using women's showers.

Gallego, who separated from his wife in 2016 when she was nine months' pregnant, is embracing the Human Rights Campaign even as he tries to shed his progressive past, which could prove a political liability in his statewide race. The Democrat, who once billed himself a "true progressive voice" in Congress, quit the Congressional Progressive Caucus earlier this year, though he has claimed he did so because of increased membership dues. Last week, Gallego voted in favor of a bill he opposed last year that requires deportation of illegal aliens who assault police officers.

The Arizona congressman has a history of supporting unpopular transgender measures. In April 2023, he voted against a bill to ban public schools and universities from allowing biological males to compete in women's sports. In April 2022, he said that "we should not be abandoning … these poor transgender kids that are being bullied when there's only two or three of them that are playing sports in some of these states."

That pits him against the majority of Americans who oppose allowing males in girls' sports. More than 60 percent of respondents in the Washington Post poll said transgender females should not be allowed to compete in girls' sports at the high school, collegiate, or professional level.

Gallego has touted endorsements from other groups that back radical left-wing causes. In February, he said he was "honored" to have the backing of the liberal group Indivisible, which has called to defund police departments and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Gallego's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.