California Says Its Policies Trump Parental Rights When It Comes to Trans Kids

California Says Its Policies Trump Parental Rights When It Comes to Trans Kids

A parental rights advocate raises a sign during an Orange Unified School Board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)

James Breslo
James Breslo


Updated: 4/18/2024


A friend’s 5-year-old child told me emphatically he wants to be a girl. I naturally told my friend. I didn’t know what he would do with the information, but I certainly thought that as a parent he should be made aware of this information about his child.
The State of California disagrees. It prevents schools from providing such information to parents. The state is allowed to know it, but not the parents.
Parents have begun a movement to overturn this policy through a ballot initiative. But the state is trying to prevent it from even making it to the ballot. The matter is now headed to court. The issue is what the initiative is called. The state Attorney General has the authority to name initiatives. Rather than calling it something like the “Parents’ Right to Know” act, Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, chose to label it the “Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth” act.
Proponents call Mr. Bonta’s title “inaccurate, blatantly argumentative, and prejudicial.” Mr. Bonta is not neutral on the issue. He is currently in court against the Chino Valley Unified school district, arguing that their policy of informing parents if a child seeks to change his or her gender in school discriminates against trans children.
Mr. Bonta’s title has made it far more difficult for the parents to obtain the money and signatures required to get it on the ballot. Potential donors are backing away, noting that with that title it will be difficult to pass. The parents determined they had no choice to but sue over the misleading title. It is now in the court’s hands, with a hearing set for Friday, April 19. The parents are hoping the judge stands up to the Attorney General and throws out the title.
The first thing wrong with Mr. Bonta’s title is that there no such thing as “transgender youth.” There is youth suffering from gender dysphoria, a mental disorder recognized in the psychiatric community for many decades. It is a disorder that most often resolves itself before adulthood. That is because it is not a genetic disorder. This is proven by identical twin studies showing that the majority of the time if one twin is transgender, the other is not. Same DNA, different outcome. We have also now mapped the entire human genome. No transgender gene has been found.
Like all mental disorders, it can and should be treated with counseling. It is most often caused by early childhood trauma, as I have written about before. If the gender dysphoria does not resolve itself by adulthood, and the person chooses to live their life as the opposite sex as an adult—with the full legal authority to provide informed consent to whatever that may include—then they can be called transgender (and in my opinion deserve love, respect, and non-discrimination if they make this choice.)
Second, the rights of these youth are not being trammeled upon. From where does a youth derive a right to have mental disorders hidden from their parents? Mr. Bonta claims on his website that the right is derived from the “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution. (Of course there is no such express right, and the so-called “right to privacy” has never been applied to children.)
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 15, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 15, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Quite the opposite—parents have a right to know about the health of their child. What could possibly be the state interest in keeping this information from the parent? The state obviously believes it knows better than parents how to deal with gender dysphoria. The state’s plan is to embrace the disorder, encourage the child to use the bathroom and play on the team of the opposite sex, and hide it all from the parents.
The state obviously does not trust parents to properly care for their own children. Since we know how the state deals with gender dysphoria in youth, we know that its real concern is that parents may choose not to embrace the dysphoria and may seek out professionals who still treat it as a disorder. The state has already sought to prevent parents from doing so in a 2012 law which makes it illegal for “mental health providers” to treat minors who seek to change their “sexual orientation” or “gender expressions.”
Mr. Bonta will essentially be arguing in court that the state knows better than you what is best for your child. In California, “it takes a village” to ensure a child with gender dysphoria becomes a transgender adult.

James Breslo is an attorney and host of the “Hidden Truth Show” podcast. He is a former partner at the international law firm Seyfarth Shaw and public company president. He has appeared numerous times as a legal expert on Fox News and CNN, and serves on the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 Public Diplomacy committee.

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