Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Jason Miyares, is vowing to protect parental rights after a Democrat in the state House of Delegates voiced support for a bill to criminalize a parent’s disagreement with his or her child’s stated gender identity.

Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, announced a new policy last month, putting parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to transgender identity. Delegate Elizabeth Guzman responded to Youngkin’s plan with a pledge to weaponize laws against child abuse.

“The day that Governor Youngkin wanted to implement this policy, I immediately texted the policy lead of that committee and said, ‘This is how we’re going to push back,’” Guzman told Washington’s WJLA-TV.

Guzman said she plans to reintroduce a bill in Richmond that aims to protect children who identify as LGBTQ from their parents and guardians, if their caretakers do not accept their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would expand the state’s definition of child abuse and neglect to include parental dissent on those hot-button sexuality issues.

“If the child shares with those mandated reporters what they are going through, we are talking about not only physical abuse or mental abuse, what the job of that mandated reporter is to inform Child Protective Services,” Guzman told WJLA Channel 7.

When the reporter asked Guzman about prospective penalties for a parent’s dissent, the Democrat noted that after a complete “investigation,” the penalty “could be a felony, it could be a misdemeanor, but we know that [the Child Protective Services] charge could harm your employment, could harm their education, because nowadays many people do a CPS database search before offering employment.”

Guzman—who represents House District 31, which includes portions of Prince William and Fauquier counties—insisted that the bill does not involve “criminalizing parents,” but rather “educating parents, because the law tells you the do’s and don’ts.

“So this law is telling you, ‘Do not abuse your children because they are LGBTQ,’” she said.

When The Daily Signal asked Miyares about the legality of such a law, he vowed to uphold parents’ constitutional rights.

“The far Left doesn’t seem to understand that Virginia parents want to be involved in their children’s lives,” Miyares told The Daily Signal. “This is just another attempt to replace the role of parents with the government. Families have the right to raise children, not the state. This seems to be another entry for the ‘Woke Olympics.’ As your attorney general, I’ll always protect the constitutional rights of parents.”

Guzman did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment on how the bill squares with parental rights in the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions by publication time.

Federal and state law reserve certain rights to people only after the age of 18. Minors cannot vote, nor can they can serve in the military, and they cannot make binding contracts. Yet Guzman insists that they can decide their sexual orientation and whether they are male or female—and if parents disagree, that amounts to child abuse.

Parents rights advocates joined Miyares in condemning Guzman’s proposal.

“As shocking and evil as this is, it is not surprising,” Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools, told The Daily Signal on Friday. “Schools in Virginia are keeping parents out of the loop when their children tell staff that they … identify as a different sex. The very reason schools are doing this is because they believe that parents’ failure to affirm is ‘abuse.’”

“Guzman’s bill is a natural progression from what the woke Left is pushing,” Prior warned. “But make no mistake: They will lose this fight. Politicians that push it will be defeated. Organizations that try to separate children from caring parents will be prosecuted and sued. The sick and twisted agenda of these activists will be a relic of the past. And they will join the ranks of history’s villains.”

“Delegate Guzman’s proposed policy is breathtakingly audacious—and unconstitutional,” Nicole Neily, president and founder of Parents Defending Education, told The Daily Signal. “Sadly, she is well within the mainstream of her profession on this issue—which has been a concern of parents across the country, who have watched the actions of school counselors and psychologists with growing alarm.”

Neily added: “Parents have a clearly established right to direct the upbringing of their children—and should this appalling policy be codified into law, it will be challenged in court immediately.”

While transgender activists claim that students are more likely to commit suicide if schools and parents do not encourage their transgender identities, it remains unclear whether affirmation and controversial medical interventions actually help students with gender dysphoria.  

Medical interventions can have dangerous lifelong impacts. So-called puberty blockers, for example, actually introduce a disease into a patient’s body, according to Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist in Rocklin, California. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism occurs when the brain fails to send the right signal to the gonads to make the hormones necessary for development. 

“An endocrinologist might treat a condition where a female’s testosterone levels are going to be outside the normal range,” Laidlaw told PJ Media. “We’ll treat that, and we’re aware of metabolic problems. At the same time, an endocrinologist may be giving high levels of testosterone to a female to ‘transition’ her.” 

Cross-sex hormones can also have serious long-term side effects, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular events.

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