Former President Donald Trump vowed in a video released Tuesday that, if he is re-elected, he will punish doctors who provide gender-affirming care to minors and push schools to “promote positive education about the nuclear family” and “the roles of mothers and fathers” as part of a wide-ranging set of policies to use federal power to target transgender people.
In a straight-to-camera video posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump said he would task several federal agencies to police and ultimately “stop” gender-affirming care for minors, which he equated to “child abuse” and “child sexual mutilation.”
He said he would also prohibit any federal agency from working to “promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age," not just for minors.
The proposals are likely to be met with staunch opposition from LGBTQ rights advocates, who are fighting similar ideas across the country, calling them detrimental to trans people.
Gender-affirming care, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, “consists of an array of services that may include medical, surgical, mental health, and non-medical services for transgender and nonbinary people.”
Trump’s proposals are among the most draconian compared to the many that have circulated in state capitols in recent years, going so far as to suggest that he would push for a federal law recognizing only two genders.
Trump said he would push Congress to pass a law banning gender-affirming care for minors nationwide, order the Justice Department to investigate the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals to see whether they “deliberately covered up horrific long-term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich” and cut off doctors from Medicare and Medicaid — a potential career-ender for many doctors — if they treat trans youths with hormones or surgery.
In addition, he said he would make it easier for patients who later regret having received gender-affirming care as minors to sue their doctors, calling the procedures “unforgivable.”
Trump also said his policy changes would extend to education.
He has already vowed to create a “new credentialing body for teachers” regarding the teaching of race history, adding that the panel would “promote positive education about the nuclear family, the roles of mothers and fathers and celebrating, rather than erasing, the things that make men and women different.”
He said his Education Department would impose “severe consequences” on any teachers or school officials who “suggest to a child that they could be trapped in the wrong body,” which could include civil rights penalties for the individuals and a loss of federal funding for schools.
“The left-wing gender insanity being pushed at our children is an act of child abuse. Very simple. Here’s my plan to stop the chemical, physical and emotional mutilation of our youth,” Trump said.
Trump is looking to reignite momentum for his second presidential campaign as conservatives nationwide have become increasingly concerned about trans issues, especially gender-affirming care for minors.
The hard-line stance is a departure for Trump, who distinguished himself from more traditional social conservatives in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries by openly courting LGBTQ voters.
Trump, a former Democratic donor from New York City, said in 2016 that he was “fine” with same-sex marriage and that he would be a “real friend” of the LGBTQ community. He has bragged about how he “did great with the gay population,” compared to other Republican presidential candidates.
Five Republican-leaning states have enacted bans or restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors over the past two years: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Tennessee and Utah.
Legislators in at least 21 states have proposed bills this year to ban or restrict gender-affirming care for minors.
Judges have blocked the laws in Alabama and Arkansas, pending the outcomes of lawsuits.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have said they plan to sue Utah within two weeks over its law, which the governor signed Saturday.
Major medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association — have supported gender-affirming care for minors.