One persistent controversy in the ongoing culture wars involves allowing children to receive hormonal treatments — and the debate is still raging, as a top Democrat proved this week.
South Carolina state Rep. Cezar McKnight broke with the majority of his party by sponsoring a bill that would prevent doctors from prescribing certain gender-altering or puberty-delaying medication or procedures to patients under the age of 18.
“I don’t hate anyone”
McKnight defended the proposal, known as the South Carolina Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, and addressed his critics in remarks this week.
If successful in becoming law, the legislation would allow for various felony-level penalties against medical professionals found in violation.
During an appearance on the Fox News Channel, the state representative declared that he is “not anti-transgender,” “anti-gay,” or “a homophobe,” denouncing those who have referred to him as such.
“It was just this last week that I fought to put in protections in our new hate crime bill legislation that would protect gay people, transgender, lesbians,” McKnight added. “I fought to put that in there. … I don’t hate anyone.”
Going on to explain his rationale for sponsoring the bill, he cited a desire to protect children from decisions they might later regret.
“I caused myself good trouble”
“What I am about is protecting children, and I think that in South Carolina, you have to be 18 years old to get a tattoo,” the Democratic lawmaker told host Tucker Carlson. “So how is it that you can get an irrevocable procedure performed on you at any age during your adolescence? It’s ridiculous.”
In addition to some bipartisan praise, McKnight noted that he had received wide support from the LGBTQ community “who support this bill.”
He said pastors, parents, and a number of other demographics agree that, at the very least, a person should be a legal adult before opting for surgeries or medications that would forever alter their bodies.
While McKnight acknowledged he was initially concerned about pushback from within his own party and a possible primary challenger, he said the move might have helped his chances among his more conservative constituents.
“I like to say that I caused myself good trouble because all the opposition has done is help me win the Republican parts of my district,” he said.