The Legislature and Supreme Court took our daughter’s rights. Yours could be next | Opinion

Imagine for a moment you wake up one morning and discover that you are holding a club in your hand. If your first thought upon noticing the club is to ask yourself, “Who should I hurt with this weapon?” you might be a Republican member of the Idaho Legislature, or as we have seen just this week, a member of the United States Supreme Court.

In 2023, Idaho lawmakers passed, and Governor Little signed, House Bill 71, a bill criminalizing the provision of gender-affirming care in Idaho. To be clear, gender-affirming care of the type that until Monday was still legal and prescribed in Idaho is evidence-based care with decades of patients safely and successfully benefiting from these medications. Medications like the puberty blockers Lupron and Spironolactone have been safely used to treat precocious puberty in very young children with no negative effects on their future fertility. That’s correct: no negative effects on future fertility.

I would bet that a fair number of Idaho legislators — the very people who claim these drugs are dangerous — also take these medications, as they are commonly used for the treatment of prostate cancer, and high blood pressure, among other things. In all of the testimony claiming how damaging these drugs are I never heard one Republican lawmaker vow to lead by example and stop taking them. Seems like if they were really so dangerous this would have been a wise and bold step to take for people so concerned about their own and others’ health. Unless, they were being criminalized for some other reason.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written as a protection against our darker angels. Our forefathers understood that given the opportunity, people will use their power to deny those they despise the promised protections of the law. In other words, they knew situations like what we are witnessing in Idaho and in other states where lawmakers make a group of fellow Americans into an enemy and deny them the rights our citizenship gives us all, would naturally occur.

Today, the enemy is transgender kids and their families and physicians, tomorrow, who knows? Rest assured, it will be someone. It always is.

It is important to note that it is still legal in Idaho for kids to take puberty blockers, even after Monday’s ruling. In fact, we have two daughters, both take puberty blockers — the same medication, in nearly the same dose. In one case, it is perfectly legal; in the other it could now result in a ten-year prison sentence for our youngest daughter’s physician. How can this be? Our eldest daughter is cisgender, so the Idaho Legislature and Governor Little see no danger in her taking the medication. Our youngest daughter is transgender, thus making the same drug in the same dose “dangerous”, and according to Little, it will likely “irreversibly damage” her body.

The blatant discrimination based solely on gender is clear to see in the Idaho Legislature’s and Little’s actions. Unfortunately for them, the Fourteenth Amendment says that is not allowed in our country. Unfortunately for our family, and families like ours, we live in Idaho where little things like the Constitution only apply to the “correct” people; sadly for all of us, the U.S. Supreme Court just sent Idaho a signal that it agrees with this prejudicial view.

This should scare us all, because if my daughter’s right to exist is up for legal debate, yours may be next, especially if you live in Idaho.

Michael J. Devitt lives in Boise and is the proud father of a transgender daughter.