By Jeff Culbreath
June 15, 2023
As western Europe appears to be putting the brakes on biology-altering “gender transition” procedures for children, legislators in the state of California are working to enshrine the practice into its legal framework. Assembly Bill (AB) 957, if signed into law, would mandate that family courts regard “a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity” as a potential deciding factor in custody disputes. Thus far, as it waits for a vote in a senate committee, the bill’s language amends Section 3011 of the Family Code as follows:
3011. (a) In making a determination of the best interests of the child in a proceeding described in Section 3021, the court shall, among any other factors it finds relevant and consistent with Section 3020, consider all of the following:
(1) (A) The health, safety, and welfare of the child.
(B) As used in this paragraph, the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.
In the most literal terms, this means that a parent could lose custody of a child due to failure to affirm the child’s self-proclaimed gender identity as something other than his or her biological sex. Essentially, this will ensure that many children will be raised, by court order, in an environment that causes grievous psychological damage, perpetuates their moral confusion, and gravely injures their dignity as human persons created as male or female. The seemingly limited context of parental custody disputes is deceiving. AB-957 could actually precipitate custody disputes, if that is deemed the only way a gender-confused child might obtain the desired medical procedures.
Children with real or perceived gender dysphoria need parental support – and perhaps the services of competent mental health professionals – to become comfortable as the men or women they were created to be. A court that is truly acting in accordance with the “health, safety, and welfare of the child” would restrict custody to only those parents who agree to provide the necessary support and services. The common good demands psychologically healthy citizens who know themselves to be loved by God, who are at peace with their biological sex, and who, by their examples, do not influence others to have contempt for their own bodies. AB-957 turns the common good upside down.
But there are further implications. AB-957 would set a decisive precedent. Courts and public agencies look to more clearly defined law as a means of interpreting laws that seem ambiguous. By legally defining the “health, safety, and welfare of the child” as including “a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity” in the California Family Code, the interpretive framework of family law in California would have a new guiding star. For example, think of the plausible legal pretext that Child Protective Services would have for removing children from their homes.
It’s not difficult to see how readily AB-957 might translate into any child’s right to undergo hormonal or surgical “gender re-assignment”. Last year Governor Newsom signed SB-107 into law, which (among other awful things) deprives out-of-state parents of the right to prevent their own children from obtaining so-called “gender affirming care” in California. AB-957 would take that a step further and apply to in-state parents in custody disputes. How long before biology-altering “gender-transition” procedures become something children can independently obtain for themselves, apart from parental consent, with the friendly assistance of school counselors and Child Protective Services?
The American Solidarity Party upholds the foundational principle of “the intrinsic dignity of the human person” – language borrowed from the Christian tradition, and from which it derives its meaning. St. John Paul II explains, in his Theology of the Body discourses, that “masculinity and femininity express the dual aspect of man's somatic constitution”, and “this structure is presented right from the beginning with a deep consciousness of human corporality and sexuality, and that establishes an inalienable norm for the understanding of man on the theological plane.”  In other words, masculinity and femininity are the “inalienable norm” for the expression of biological sex. For this reason, the ASP Platform wisely rejects “the idea that surgical or hormonal treatment to circumvent the natural, healthy development and function of the body is necessary health care”.
Thought patterns, moral reasoning, and habits of the body formed in youth can become seemingly intractable in later years. It is therefore uniquely cruel to influence young people in the direction of rejecting their own biological sex and cultivating a personality in opposition to their true sexual identity. Transgenderism isn’t just a problem for children, though. Transgender adults and their enablers are setting an example for children. We can’t protect children without ensuring that good and wholesome examples prevail in their lives.
Our Statement of Principles affirms “a special collective responsibility to the most vulnerable members of society” and calls for “societal structures that uphold the equal value and dignity of each person, regardless of any personal characteristics.” Those who genuinely suffer from gender dysphoria are among the most vulnerable members of society, and often the most severely deprived of authentic human solidarity. Upholding their value and dignity means, in addition to the practical exercise of compassion, eliminating the dysfunctions and pathologies that have brought them so much harm. Furthermore, as Solidarists we cannot abide the heartless exploitation of the vulnerable for financial gain or political advantage. Let our opposition, while resolute, be truly worthy of the “solidarity” in which we believe.
 John Paul II, Theology of the Body, Nov. 21, 1979