First Amendment Violations, Social Transitioning, and "Gender Affirming Care"

John D. Sailer

Resolute is the Civics Alliance’s newsletter, informing you about the most urgent issues in civics education. Above all, Resolute will provide information about federal and state legislation that seeks to impose action civics, or to preserve traditional civics.

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Happy Thursday! Astute readers of Resolute will note that we did not send our regular update at the end of last month. That said, we’re back, providing updates on the most important issues in education.

FIRE Calls Out California Community Colleges

In March, we wrote an article about how the California Community Colleges system is considering a policy that would require all employees to demonstrate “diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility” competencies. We noted then that this is a straightforward violation of academic freedom—and an effective political litmus test. 

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently released a statement opposing the proposed DEIA regulations. According to the statement:

As a public community college system, CCC is bound by the First Amendment, under which the government “may not compel affirmance of a belief with which the speaker disagrees.” It follows that the “government may not condition employment on taking an oath that one has not or will not engage in protected speech, such as criticizing government policy or discussing political doctrine.”

The proposed competencies, needless to say, fall afoul of the First Amendment standards.

Fact-Checking the HHS

As we’ve said before, the question of gender self-identification—whether a person can self-identify into a different sex—will likely become one of this year’s most salient education issues. Recently, the Office of Population Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services released a document titled “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People.” This document presents a wholesale defense of what is euphemistically called “gender affirming care” for minors. With many schools openly embracing gender ideology, the HHS document is bound to be used as one more piece of evidence.

The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) has issued a point-by-point response to the HHS document, raising significant concerns about the purported evidence in favor of “gender-affirming” care for minors. SEGM concludes:

Even though the HHS document is carefully worded and does not make explicit recommendations, is it very likely that the public will infer from it that the only reasonable option is to provide "gender-affirming" care to gender-diverse children and adolescents. This incomplete representation of the relevant issues is likely to mislead the public to believe that this is the best and only alternative, particularly when no other alternatives are mentioned. The public is also likely to erroneously assume that the risks of affirmative care are low. Patients and families are not capable of providing valid informed consent when the information they receive is inaccurate and incomplete.

SEGM also notes that, unlike the United States, many European countries have significantly curtailed gender affirming care for minors, in some cases even halting it entirely: “Increasingly, these countries are advising against and sharply limiting unfettered access to pediatric gender transition and are instead prioritizing mental health support as the first line of treatment.”

Speaking of Gender

Leor Sapir has emerged as an indispensable voice on the issue of gender ideology. This week, Sapir published a piece looking at a new study on “social transitioning.” Though the New York Times touts its results, the new study only provides further evidence that “gender-affirming” therapy simply prolongs gender identity distress. As Sapir puts it: “​​Critics of medicalizing the innocent confusions and playfulness of youth should not, however, shy away from the Olson study simply because progressives believe it supports their position. On the contrary: they should tout the study at every opportunity, explaining how it provides further evidence that ‘gender-affirming’ therapy creates or prolongs the very problem it purports to solve.” 

Trouble at Saint Vincent College

After a guest gave a controversial talk at Saint Vincent College’s Center for Political and Economic Thought, the college blatantly flaunted any concern for academic freedom—not to mention, academic integrity—by threatening to effectively pull the plug on the Center. Jeffrey Anderson comments on the affair at City Journal: “St. Vincent College’s actions are the latest example of this larger phenomenon. Whether the college gets away with it—and the battle is not yet over—will say a lot about the state of free speech and academic freedom in America today.”

Civics Alliance State Affiliates

The Civics Alliance would like to build up a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their state, whom we would list on our website. If you would like to form such an organization, or suggest an existing organization, please get in touch with David Randall ([email protected]).

Continuing Priorities: Federal Legislation

At the federal level, the Civics Secures Democracy Act threatens to impose action civics nationwide.

The Civics Bill Tracker

Civics Alliance members may now use the Civics Bill Tracker to track all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics.

Public Action

We encourage Civics Alliance members to inform the public and policymakers about the stakes and consequences of action civics bills.


John Sailer is a Research Associate at the National Association of Scholars and serves as Keeping the Republic Project Lead.

Image: Mercedes Mehling, Public Domain

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