A trans Biden administration official just argued that children should receive gender-affirming care as early as possible to ensure they don’t go through the “wrong” puberty, even though he waited to transition until much later in life.
Admiral Rachel Levine, MD, assistant secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the first openly transgender government official, made the comments on Friday in the first installment of the ABC Nightline series “Identity Denied: Trans in America.”
On Wednesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Helen Joyce, author of Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, to discuss Levine’s remarks and break down the faulty logic trans activists use when advocating for treating children who question their gender identity.
[Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Megyn’s position on preferred pronouns here.]
Levine on Nightline
Levine has been a vocal trans activist as HHS assistant secretary, though his messaging around the issue has evolved over the years. “Rachel Levine [is] a man who lived his whole life as a man and then, in his fifties, declared that he was a woman and now calls himself the first female admiral to ever work for HHS, all of which is a lie,” Megyn said. “He’s still a man. He’s just dressing as a woman now.”
The Nightline episode focused on a teenager who claimed to be struggling under Republican-led efforts to ban surgical and non-surgical gender reassignment treatments for minors. During an interview with anchor Juju Chang, Levine – who is a pediatrician – claimed science is on the side of trans activists. “The treatment options for gender affirming care for transgender youth, really are evidence based,” he said.
Chang asked the physician why it is unreasonable to support restrictions on administering gender-affirming care to minors. “Adolescence is hard and puberty is hard,” Levine replied. “What if you’re going through the wrong puberty? What if you inside feel that you are female, but now you’re going through a male puberty.” When Chang pressed that kids might be too young to make sense of their feelings, Levine said there is nothing to worry about. “I want to make it clear that for pre-pubertal children, there are no medical procedures done,” he said. “The standard of care allows them to explore that with therapy.”
Chang then inquired about the potential “harm” of legislation that curtails gender reassignment for children under the age of 18, which led Levine to trot out several go-to defenses. “Gender affirming care is medical care. Gender affirming care is mental health care,” he said. “Gender affirming care is literally suicide prevention care.”
Part of what makes Levine’s comments about childhood transitions so interesting is his own experience. Levine lived as a man well into adulthood, fully transitioning in 2011 at the age of 54. At that point, he had been married to a woman for 23 years and raised two children.
During an appearance at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), Levine – who had not yet been named HHS assistant secretary – said he was glad to have waited to transition. “I have no regrets because if I had transitioned when I was younger, then I wouldn’t have my children,” Levine said. “I can’t imagine a life without my children.”
Fact Checking Levine’s Claims
Megyn called out the “change in messaging” from Levine. “He is on record as saying he’s glad that he waited because he wouldn’t have had his children if he had gone trans before he did,” she noted. “But he’d love for your kids or mine to stop puberty and cross sex with all these procedures.”
Megyn also questioned the veracity of the claims that are often used by trans activists to defend the standard of care. “What they do is they use a bunch of half-truths and outright deceptions and assertions without any evidence,” Joyce said. As she explained, they “stitch it together” so someone like Levine can say “nobody’s doing irreversible things to prepubescent children” or “puberty blockers are reversible.”
In reality, neither of those things are true, and Joyce offered the following fact checks:
Fact Check #1: Prepubescent Care
Joyce: “What they’re ignoring is what we know about childhood development. If you tell a little boy who ardently wishes that he was really a girl that, yes, he can be a girl and you’re going to call him a girl’s name, tell everybody that he’s a girl, dress him in girls clothes, you’re gonna get away with it because you can turn little boys into something that looks like little girls. It’s easy to present prepubescent children as members of the opposite sex. That kid gets what he wants. He gets to play with the toys that you said weren’t suitable for boys…
Then puberty approaches. What’s the child going to do? Go alright, fine, I’m gonna grow hair on my chest, and my voice is going to break, and I’m going to shoot up, and I’m just going to look like a boy? No, you’ve been pretending for the past five years that he’s really a girl. You’ve put them on a path that’s very, very hard to get off even if, technically, you haven’t done something irreversible.”
Fact Check #2: Puberty Blockers
Joyce: “The next lie they say is that puberty blockers are reversible, that they’re just a pause button, that they just give you time to think. What they actually do is they lock in the social transition. Children who go on puberty blockers almost all – like 98% – go on to cross-sex hormones. They are absolutely not a pause button, and they’re probably bad for you in and of themselves…
Puberty is a really special time. So much changes in a child in puberty… and these wicked, wicked people want to interfere with that process. It harms your brain. It harms all sorts of things… [and] it puts you on a path to cross-sex hormones… If you stop a child’s puberty right at the beginning of it… you’re not just creating somebody who might look like a member of the opposite sex when they’ve got no clothes on, you’re creating somebody who is kind of asexual… someone who is not just infertile but sterile. You’re creating a human being who can never be a normal adult.”
The ‘Human Rights Abuse’ of Our Time
Joyce said she “hated everything” about Levine’s interview because she believes it’s “absolutely disgusting to be harming children in order to prop up and validate adult identities.” As she explained, Levine “is saying that children should be given something that he did not have himself.” That led her to wonder “what about his own identity requires him to use children as child sacrifices like this.”
Ultimately, Joyce does not believe history will look back on this time kindly. “It is a human rights abuse of the sort that we look back on lobotomies and say, ‘How did that ever happen,’” she said. “We’re doing like sex lobotomies, and we’re doing them on children… probably to tens of thousands of children invisibly in clinics all over America and all over the English-speaking world.” She said allowing children access to this treatment is the “medical scandal” and the “human rights abuse of the developed world” of the twenty first century.
Megyn agreed. “This is why, honestly, I’m becoming a single issue voter – I will never vote for somebody who supports this,” she concluded. “This is a black and white issue. There is no support of this, or you’re out.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Joyce by tuning in to episode 590 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.