Fox's Trace Gallagher lies that Biden policy will force doctors to perform “sex reassignment surgeries on minors”
Fox News’ Trace Gallagher -- part of the network’s so-called “news” side -- repeatedly spread a pervasive right-wing lie that LGBTQ nondiscrimination measures will force doctors to perform “sex reassignment surgeries on minors.”
Gallagher was discussing the May 10 announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services that health care providers and insurance companies cannot discriminate against LGBTQ people, a reversal of a Trump administration policy.
In reality, minors are not undergoing what Gallagher referred to as “sex reassignment surgeries.” As The Washington Post explained, “In recent debates over transgender medical care, politicians have made claims that transgender children are undergoing genital surgeries at young ages. Current medical guidelines say children should not undergo gender-affirming genital surgery before they turn 18.” Vox’s Katelyn Burns reported on what health care for trans minors actually looks like:
Nowadays, doctors recommend taking a humane and affirming approach when a child expresses that their gender may not match their assigned sex at birth. This affirmation includes allowing trans kids to socially transition (i.e., use whichever name, pronouns, and clothing make them comfortable). Medical interventions — like puberty suppression or gender-affirming hormones like estrogen or testosterone — are only recommended for adolescents who have been insistent, persistent, and consistent in their gender identity over long periods.
These approaches are accepted as safe, effective, and lifesaving treatments by medical professionals, who also note that affirming care can yield long-term mental health benefits.
Nevertheless, Gallagher fearmongered about the Biden administration’s nondiscrimination policy and quoted the American Principles Project, an anti-LGBQ group that has worked to make attacking trans people a more popular political strategy on the right. In his report, Gallagher spread the false narrative that doctors will be forced to perform “sex reassignment surgeries on minors” and parroted APP’s lies, saying, “Critics like the American Principles Project say that Americans who identify as LGBTQ were not being denied access to health care.” As the Human Rights Campaign has noted, “Studies show that 56% of LGB people and 70% of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported experiencing discrimination by health care providers — including refusal of care, harsh language and physical roughness because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Right-wing media -- particularly Fox News -- have long spread the myth that young trans kids are undergoing surgeries and other “irreversible” treatments.