Enemy of the state: California Dems pass trans bill that targets parents

Enemy of the state: California Dems pass trans bill that targets parents

Enemy of the state: California Dems pass trans bill that targets parents

A bill that is making its way through the California legislature will probably become state law but only after a state senator urged parents to flee and after emotional testimony from the grieving mother of a deceased transgender child.

The bill, AB 957, was debated by the California Senate Judicial Committee on Tuesday, where speakers lined up to protest the legislation and to warn determined lawmakers they are unfairly targeting families. 

Greg Burt, director of capitol engagement for the California Family Council, predicted it would reach the floor of the Senate for a full vote. He was correct: The bill passed on an 8-1 party line vote in spite of hundreds attending the meeting to speak in opposition.

Burt, Greg (California Family Council) Burt

The bill known as the TGI (Transgender, Gender-Diverse, and Intersex) Youth Empowerment Act passed the lower house on March 30. If it passes the Senate, it will only need the signature of Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a child custody law in which a parent is penalized by a family court judge for not "affirming" a child's made-up gender. 

“The whole nation needs to speak up about this because this is where it’s going," Burt told the "Washington Watch" program Tuesday. "What starts here spreads to other states." 

Burt, whose conservative group is dwarfed in the far-left state, called the bill "completely illegal" and a violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

Ignoring that warning and many others, the bill's Democrat author - herself the mother of a transgender child - doubled down on the belief that parents must "affirm" their mentally confused child under penalty of law.  

“Research demonstrates that family acceptance of LGBTQ youth is a crucial protective factor in combatting depression and substance abuse," Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson (pictured at left) stated during the hearing. "Well-rounded support from friends and family members strongly associated with positive mental development, physical health and overall well-being."

AB 957 would "center" the health and welfare of transgender youth, the lawmaker argued, by "acknowledging that affirmation of their gender identity is in their best interest.”

The bill's language, however, means the State of California is defining what "affirmation" and "best interest" means in state law. 

Jonathan Zachreson, a parents’ rights advocate and Roseville City School district board member, posted the video to social media.

State senator warns parents to flee 

During debate over AB 957, Republican state Sen. Scott Wilk told the committee the bill is so burdensome he will leave the state and "move to America" after he completes his term. He urged concerned parents to leave before then.

“In the past when we’ve had these discussions, and I’ve seen parental rights atrophied, I’ve encouraged people to keep fighting. I’ve changed my mind on that," he declared. "If you love your children, you need to flee California."

Wilk, Scott Wilk

Wilk, a lifelong Californian, represents District 21 north of Los Angeles. He is currently co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, according to his official biography. 

Parent describes trauma of trans child

In other committee testimony, Abigail Martinez begged the committee not to pass the bill. She said the transgender transitioning took the life of her daughter, Yaeli, who knelt in front of a train at age 19 rather than continue to live with the stress of transitioning and hormone treatments.

After struggling with depression, Yaeli was age 15 when school staff began working with her to transition to a boy named "Andrew." The teen daughter was 16 when she was taken from her mother and put in foster care by Los Angeles child protection services, according to a Daily Signal story from 2022. 

“My daughter was taken from her loving home because the state of California claimed I was abusive for not affirming her trans identity," Martinez told the California lawmakers. "I lost my daughter over a name and a pronoun. Even after I promised to call her a male name, it wasn’t enough. My daughter was not a boy trapped in a girl’s body. She had mental health issues,” Martinez said.

Martinez said the abuse claim against her was eventually dropped, but for Yaeli, “The damage was done.”

Therapy not an option for California parents

The Mayo Clinic includes behavioral health as a treatment for gender dysphoria but that’s not an option presented to parents in California, Martinez said.

“Parents are given one option to treat their distressed child: affirm, drug and remove their healthy body part or else lose your child,” she said.

Martinez said Yaeli, against the mother’s consent, was given testosterone treatments instead of therapy.

“The LGBTQ group used her to raise money for them. ‘Look at the poor reject trans boy they said,’” said Martinez, who cried through her address.

Erin Friday, a California attorney, was another mother of a transgender child who testified against AB 957 this week. She cautioned that lawmakers were setting up a system in family court in which "affirming" a child helps a parent win favor by a judge who must consider that affirmation in the case.

"Parents can easily gain the system and use gender as retaliation against each other," she said. "What happens when one parent will socially affirm the child but will not agree to medicalize? Does the parent willing to do more transitioning prevail?" 

Back on the "Washington Watch" program, Burt said opposition to the bill has been strong, including from some Democrats, but he's not sure it will be enough to stop passage.