Hyperbolic rhetoric about suicide rates may do more to increase suicide than prevent it.
In a recent exchange between Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Berkeley Law professor Khiara Bridges on the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Hawley wanted to know whether the Court’s decision affected women as a class. After initially informing Hawley that not all “cis women” have the “capacity for pregnancy” while some “trans men” and “non-binary” people do, Bridges appeared caught between her loyalties to gender identity ideology and to the long-held idea that abortion is a women’s issue. And so rather than clarify her position, Bridges berated Hawley for his “transphobic” line of questioning, insisting that he and those like him are the reason why “one in five” transgender people attempt suicide.
The affirm-or-suicide mantra has become the central strategy of contemporary transgender activism, and at times it would seem that activists have little else in their rhetorical arsenal. Federal courts have used it to impose new policies on schools under Title IX. When Florida passed the Parental Rights in Education Act—a law that limits classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation to “age appropriate” circumstances and that requires schools to notify parents when their children are being “socially transitioned” to the opposite gender—Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg agreed with his husband Chasten that it would “kill kids.” Florida’s law was in response to, among other things, books like Gender Queer: A Memoir, which contains graphic depictions of oral sex, appearing on school library shelves. The book’s “non-binary” author, Maia Kobabe, countered that her book’s presence in libraries was “life-saving.”
Leor Sapir is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
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