'Sexualization of children': Feminists join Christian conservatives to stop Biden LGBTQ order

Executive order cites research on youth suicide that's undercut by new analysis of states that don't require parental consent for blockers, hormones. Don't force sexual orientation on kids because "they're just kids," feminist group says.

Updated: June 17, 2022 - 11:40pm

President Biden has strengthened the growing coalition between social conservatives and gender-critical feminists against transgender ideology by issuing an executive order on "advancing equality" for people who are not heterosexual or don't identify with their sex.

While they disagree on abortion rights and same-sex attraction, this ideological odd couple shares common ground on the primacy of sex-based rights, the harm of pornography and even the "sexualization of children" through exposure to adult themes such as drag. 

The executive order is specifically focused on "unrelenting political and legislative attacks" by unnamed states "on LGBTQI+ children and families in particular," which endanger a half-century of "civil rights gains," harm democracy and "threaten basic personal safety." 

It implies that limiting women's sports to biological females - as a third of states have done, most recently Louisiana - and keeping intimate facilities separated by sex is comparable to "the criminalization that LGBTQI+ people continue to face in some 70 countries around the world." 

The order promises federal support for "LGBTQI+ students in our nation’s schools and other education and training programs," including through guidance on "safe and inclusive learning environments" that "address bullying" of these students --without defining any of those terms.

It also mentions "mental health" a dozen times, with a focus on youth. The White House will "identify promising practices" to ensure schools provide "accessible and supportive" mental and other health services for LGBTQI+ students, likely meaning the gender-affirming care model that prioritizes drug therapy and even surgery.

The order lumps in talk therapy to address a child's possibly transient gender confusion, a more cautious approach than starting puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, with active counseling to "suppress or change" sexual orientation.

Such "conversion therapy" is a "discredited practice that research indicates can cause significant harm, including higher rates of suicide-related thoughts and behaviors by LGBTQI+ youth." 

A recent comparison of youth suicide between states that let minors access "routine medical care" and those that require parental consent found the former had "significantly higher" rates since blockers and hormones became widely available around 2010. A Heritage Foundation study also flagged methodological problems throughout the research for gender-affirming care.

The gender-critical Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) and Christian conservative Family Policy Alliance accused Biden of applying the "bully" label to "over half the country—including Democrat primary voters, Christian ministries, and radical feminists."

The administration refuses to define a "woman" but now prescribes "a clinical treatment plan for Americans’ mental health challenges" and "directly contributes to the sexualization of children" by labeling even the youngest as LGBTQI, they said in a joint statement promising to use "the full weight of our resources to oppose this dangerous and out-of-touch executive order."

Referring to gender-affirming care, the duo blasted Biden for pushing girls into "unnecessary, life-altering, and permanent medical procedures" that reinforce sex stereotypes and sterilize them before they'd ever consider starting a family. "This is not health care."

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative force behind sex-based litigation and legislation, said Biden's order "villainizes and grossly misrepresents" those who hold "commonsense American values and violates their constitutionally and legally protected freedoms."

The president doesn't have the unilateral authority "to mandate what Christian counselors can say" to clients or force faith-based foster care and adoption homes to choose between federal funding and their beliefs on sexuality, senior counsel Julie Marie Blake said, referring to ADF clients.

The order threatens to "erase" women's sports as a category "egregiously on the cusp of the 50th anniversary of Title IX," she said, hinting at litigation to block the order's implementation by federal agencies. The White House did not answer Just the News requests to respond to the criticisms.

WoLF's concern about the sexualization of children is not new, though recent pushback is associated with conservatives taking on age-inappropriate school curricula and "Drag Queen Story Hour" events, Legal Director Lauren Adams told Just the News.

The group offered feminist objections to drag events targeting children more than two years ago and has continued to discuss it in interviews and social media, she said.

Executive Director Mahri Irvine said some lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) groups, as opposed to those that prioritize transgender issues, have long taken issue with applying "adult concepts about sexual orientation" to kids because "they're just kids." 

She noted the LGB Alliance USA defended Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, derided by critics as "Don't Say Gay," because sex education isn't in K-3 classrooms either. 

"It is clear this bill is primarily designed to prevent schools from promoting gender ideology to young children," the group wrote. It's part of an international LGB movement against "a new wave of homophobia that — just like the old one — tries to tell us our same-sex attraction is wrong," referring to the irrelevance of sex in gender ideology.

WoLF opposed elements of the Florida law "because we want young people who are same-sex attracted to develop into healthy adults without interference from any political agenda," Adams wrote in an email. But what critics want is even worse: "telling children and teens not to trust their parents and to instead discuss sex and sexuality with other, unrelated adults, [which] undermines everything we know about how to safeguard vulnerable populations."

Even when children "get little crushes and 'like' somebody … they are not experiencing physical sexual sensations" before puberty or "typically engaging in sexualized behavior unless they have been abused or exposed to pornography," which can lead them "to act in age-inappropriate ways" distinct from children's natural curiosity about their bodies, Irvine wrote in an email. 

Labeling children as gay or lesbian also fixes them in one orientation that may change as they get older, she said, emphasizing this was her personal opinion.