Affirm Your Child or Say Goodbye

June 9, 23

Literally at the stroke of midnight June 5, hours before official opposition letters were due through the California Legislature’s Opposition Letter PortalSenator Scott Wiener’s submitted an amendment to Assembly Bill 957 , which – if you can believe it (you can) – made it worse. 

Originally, Wiener and Assemblywoman Lori Wilson wanted to amend Family Code, section 3011, to include whether the parent affirms the child’s gender identity as a “factor” for judges to consider when determining “the best interests of the child” in custody proceedings. While this, in and of itself, was appalling, Wiener slipped in the back door a last-minute amendment that changed the bill to say that “the health, safety and welfare of the child includes the parent’s affirming the child’s gender identity.”

This difference – at first blush – may seem inconsequential, but it is major. By placing the amended language under the heading of “the health, safety and welfare of the child” and adding the phrase “includes a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity,” Wiener and Wilson just raised not affirming a child to the equivalent of child abuse or, at the very least, neglect, under the Penal Code. Once this standard or definition is accepted in family court, it is only a matter of time for it to be “adopted” by other areas of law, proceedings, and legal community.

Remember the outrage by Scott Wiener when Texas was trying to make it child abuse and criminalize parents who consented to gender transition interventions on their child?  He called it “terrifying” and “disgusting.” Wild because what is more terrifying than forcing parents to subject their children to osteoporosis-causing castration drugs; puberty blockers; cancer-causing, heart disease-inducing and body atrophy-causing wrong sex hormones; and removal of healthy body parts, or otherwise say “good bye” to them for good? Especially – and even – if they are being thrust into the arms of the parent / guardian who is encouraging a child’s self-hate and confusion, and condoning these kinds of therapies and treatments or – in other words – actually is the parent / guardian not most fit to have them?? Wiener bemoaned Texas for separating families and criminalizing parents for transitioning their children, but he is doing the exact same thing, only in reverse: transition your child or else risk losing them.

This bill will be the gateway by which Child Protective Services, the police, and courts will find a parent abusive who does not affirm their child in order to remove them from their custody and sever the ties between them.

This has been Wiener’s goal for years and with his surreptitious last-minute amendments, he had his champagne on ice and bag of mushrooms ready.

WHAT IS AB957?

AB957 will amend Family Code, section 3011, which addresses the factors that a judge must consider in order to determine the best interests of the child in order to assign, or “award,” custody. As the law currently stands, Section 3011 requires 4 factors to be considered: (1) the health, safety and welfare of the child; (2) abuse by one parent or a partner of that parent; (3) the nature/amount of contact with parents – e.g., has one parent been absent for extended period of time, absent because of abuse, or abandoned the child, and (4) the parent’s use of drugs and alcohol. All of these factors – except the overarching general consideration of health, safety and welfare – are negative actions or “strikes” against the parent that call into question his or her ability to care for the child and, thus, whether or not s/he should be granted custody.

There is no definition of  “health, safety and welfare” in law as currently written. Instead, it is left to the discretion of the Court weighing all of these factors and observing and hearing the parties and their evidence in court. If AB957 passes, however, “health, safety and welfare” will include a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity. But what is “affirmation”? Is it social transition (e.g. a name, a pronoun, a haircut) and/or medical (e.g. puberty blockers, wrong sex hormones, castration, surgical procedures, etc.)? Will this loophole create a zero sums game with the most extreme parent winning custody for being “the most affirming,” even if he or she is affirming conduct or treatment the child does not even want or need? AB957 creates a perverse incentive for parents to be dangerous and extreme, just to win custody of their child.

THE OBVIOUS EFFECT OF AB957?

When parents disagree about how to address their child’s gender confusion, the parent who is willing to concretize the delusion that a child can change their sex – and that everything is wrong with their body – will get custody. The court will find that the parent willing to inject puberty blockers that are not FDA-approved for gender dysphoria, can lead to blindness, stop the natural strengthening of bones, and leave boys with micro-penises, in-orgasmic for life, and sterile, or who will place her son on estrogen that can cause sterility in as little as 4 months, is most beneficial to the child’s “health, safety and welfare.” Same for the parent who will place her daughter on testosterone that will cause irreversible facial hair growth, baldness, menopause in the teenage years, aggression issues and hyper-sexual impulsivity, and atrophy of the uterus that eventually requires a hysterectomy. Logically, the parent who is willing to remove body parts from the healthy child will be deemed the most fit parent of all. The irony – danger, and horror – is not lost on us.

This is not the only law that pits parent against parent with the victor always the parent willing to affirm the child, regardless of age, co-morbid mental health issues or even mental health providers’ recommendations. Senator Wiener has been passing these types of bills (e.g. SB107 [“gender affirming care” (turned California into a trans sanctuary state)]; SB407 [“Foster care:resources” (disqualifies foster families who are not willing to affirm LGBQT]) without much fanfare for years from the left or the right sides of the aisle.

WHAT DO WE DO???

We kill AB957, too:

  1. Submit an Opposition Letter through the Portal, here. Even though it is too late – technically – to be considered for Tuesday’s hearing, we believe the last minute amendment the night before the original due date justifies “late” submissions, please include a statement explaining this.
    1. Organizational letters are powerful.
      1. Identify that you “OPPOSE AB957” and ask the Senators to also oppose / vote “No” or “Abstain.”
      2. Provide the name of each organization signing the letter, as well as a named individual responsible for that organization’s position on the bill in the signature section of the letter.
    2. Even if you are part of or representing an organization, submit one on behalf of yourself, too.
    3. After submit through portal, send directly to the Committee:
      1. E-mail – sjud.fax@sen.ca.gov
      2. Fax – (916) 403-7394
  2. Call and email the Senate Judiciary Members:
    1. Email them your 2-5 questions that you are most concerned about.
    2. Ask for a 15-20 minute ZOOM, Monday through Thursday to discuss.
    3. Ask schedule for Friday through Sunday and visit them in their local district offices and/or at local events
    4. Ask them to vote “No” or Abstain unless / until the questions are answered.
    5. Committee Members:
      1. Thomas Umberg (Chair)
      2. Scott Wilk (Vice Chair)
      3. Benjamin Allen
      4. Angelique Ashby
      5. Anna Caballero
      6. Maria Elena Durazo
      7. John Laird
      8. Dave Min
      9. Roger Niello
      10. Henry Stern
      11. Scott Wiener
  3. ***NEW: @PERK-GROUP and @CaliforniaFamilyCouncil “one click” campaigns*** you can personalize and send your opposition message and request that they vote “NO” or ABSTAIN on these bills to each Senate Judiciary Member with the click of ONE button.
    1. PERK / FLTJ Oppose AB957
    2. California Family Council Oppose AB957
  4. Start calling and emailing and requesting meetings with your representatives to discuss your questions and ask them to vote “No” or abstain.
    1. Find your rep here.
  5. Book your tickets for the June 13 Hearing + Press Conference + Advocacy Day with allies such as Tara and Denise of Freedom Angels, Attorney/Activist/Co-Leader Erin Friday, and Attorney/Activist Jennifer Kennedy, ET AL.

RISE UP. PROTECT THE CHILDREN.

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