Marjorie Taylor Greene Seeks to Criminalize Gender-Affirming Care for Kids

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia plans to introduce legislation to federally ban gender-affirming care for transgender children.

Greene announced the bill during a Thursday appearance on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight. The Georgia Republican argued that gender-affirming care—which is backed by most in the medical establishment, including by major mainstream organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—is "disgusting and appalling" and "child abuse" when minors are involved.

"I find this absolutely appalling, Tucker," Greene said. "When it comes to gender-affirming care, which is really child abuse, this is actually an assault and it's child abuse. And this practice should never happen, it's so disgusting and appalling... gender-affirming care is... genital mutilation."

"This needs to be illegal and I'm introducing a bill called Protect Children's Innocence Act," she added. "It would create a law that would cause it to be a class C felony for any person involved in so-called gender-affirming care... anything involving any youth under the age of 18."

Marjorie Taylor Greene Transgender Healthcare Ban Children
Representative Marjorie Taylor Grene, a Georgia Republican, is pictured during an event in Washington, D.C., on November 17, 2021. Greene proposed a federal ban on gender-affirming medical care for those under 18 on Thursday. Win McNamee/Getty

Carlson enthusiastically agreed with Greene's proposal, arguing that doctors who provide the care should "go to prison" and that he expects every Republican to vote for the bill.

"I should have every single Republican co-sponsor [the bill]," said Greene. "But unfortunately I don't yet, I only have five co-sponsors. I'm talking to all of my colleagues and urging them, because Tucker let me tell you something, this is a referendum on the Republican Party."

"Because this practice has to end," she continued. "It's the kind of thing nightmares are made of. And these are monsters under kids that that are doing these horrific things to them."

Carlson thanked Greene, while agreeing that gender-affirming care for children was "mutilation." He urged the congresswoman to send his show "a list of every Republican [that] is too cowardly" to support the bill.

Greene's bill would also block federal funding for any gender-affirming care, ban colleges from teaching gender-affirming treatments and prevent any foreign nationals who provide the care from entering the country.

Reaction to the proposal was mixed online, with some accusing Greene of promoting child abuse by attempting to make gender-affirming treatment for transgender minors illegal.

"Your legislation will abuse transgender children," writer David Weissman tweeted. "Again the Republican Party of today is not about limited government."

"And who will protect children from your virulent ignorance and hate?" tweeted actor and director Charlie Adler.

"This is terrifying," transgender activist Erin Reed tweeted. "Not only does Marjorie Taylor Green's bill medically detransition all trans teens and ban providers from the US... It prevents schools from 'teaching gender affirming care.' Presumably she's referring to therapists and medical schools. This is genocide."

Others praised Greene for her making the proposal and appearing with Carlson on Thursday.

"Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) nailed it tonight on Tucker," tweeted Ryan Fourier, the founder of the group Students for Trump. "The sexual mutilation of children in this country is a rising problem and should concern every parent. God Bless you, Congresswoman for being a leader in this fight!"

"Just saw it~Great appearance, Congressman!" tweeted conservative talk show host Dave Weinbaum, praising Greene's Fox News appearance while misgendering her.

Greene's announcement came amid a national push from conservatives targeting transgender children and health care providers who treat them, with Republican-backed bills to block treatment for minors having already been introduced in multiple states.

Some Republican efforts have also included moves to limit or delay gender-affirming treatment for all adults, or to ban any care for young adults by changing the definition of "adult" to not include transgender people until they are over 25 years old.

Conservative anger over gender-affirming medical care—which has existed in some form for at least 100 years—may also be tied to recent harassment and death threats sent to health care providers.

Staff at Boston Children's Hospital received harassment and threats this week after the right-wing social media account Libs of TikTok and others spread misinformation about its gender health program online.

While Greene and other like-minded conservatives argue that gender-affirming care is unnecessary and "disgusting," the mainstream medical establishment largely considers it to be the only effective way of treating transgender people, sometimes including children, and has opposed legislative efforts to block treatment.

"The AMA opposes the dangerous intrusion of government into the practice of medicine and the criminalization of health care decision-making," Dr. Michael Suk, an AMA board member, said last year in a statement opposing anti-transgender laws. "Gender-affirming care is medically-necessary, evidence-based care that improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people."

Dr. Moira Szilagyi, the president of the AAP, the country's largest association of pediatricians, wrote last week in a blog post that there was a "strong consensus among the most prominent medical organizations worldwide that evidence-based, gender-affirming care for transgender children and adolescents is medically necessary and appropriate."

"There is a dangerous movement taking place, led by extremists, targeting youth who are receiving gender-affirming care, and vilifying the pediatricians providing their care," Szilagyi wrote. "The result has been rampant disinformation about what this care is and real threats of violence against some of our members."

"The people who suffer the most from this discrimination are of course the children and teens just trying to live their lives as their true selves," she added. "Pediatricians will not stay silent as these lies are waged against our patients and our peers."

The LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD also weighed in on Greene's proposal in a statement obtained by Newsweek.

"Marjorie Taylor Greene has zero interest in facts, she is only interested in harming transgender youth and spreading misinformation about the care that they receive, including lying about surgeries that are not performed on minors.," said GLAAD. "Every medical association supports gender-affirming care as safe and necessary, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, which reaffirmed their commitment to this life-saving healthcare just last week.

"Her latest vile attack should be met with loud condemnation from members of Congress, who should be protecting transgender people from baseless fearmongering and rapidly increasing anti-trans rhetoric, along with the discrimination and violence they face every day," the group added.

Newsweek reached out to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health for comment.

Update 8/19/22, 4:15 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.