Fact Check: Trans Activist Did NOT Advocate Right to 'Mutilate Kids Before Puberty'

Fact Check

  • by: Dan Mac Guill
Fact Check: Trans Activist Did NOT Advocate Right to 'Mutilate Kids Before Puberty' Not In Bill

Did a Minnesota trans activist advocate her right to "genitally mutilate" pre-pubescent children? No, that's not true: The activist, Amber Muhm, spoke in favor of House File (HF) 146, a bill that would prevent Minnesota from enforcing any out-of-state law or court order which removes a child from their parents' custody because those parents have agreed to gender-affirming health care treatment for their children.

Such treatment does not include gender-affirming surgery for children before puberty. Therefore, HF 146 does not promote any putative right to force "genital mutilation" upon pre-pubescent children, and neither did Muhm.

The claim originated in a tweet posted by "Gays Against Groomers" on February 2, 2023 (archived here). The tweet contained a roughly three-minute-long video with the following description:

Is it a coincidence that this trans woman with a trans partner has not one but TWO transgender kids? Of course not. Here they are fighting for the right to mutilate the genitals of their kids before puberty. This is not good parenting, it's child abuse.

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of the writing of this fact check:

Twitter screenshot

Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 14.45.16.png

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Fri Feb 10 19:45:16 2023 UTC)

Muhm was addressing a January 31, 2023, hearing by the Minnesota House of Representatives' Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee, which was considering HF 146.

The full footage of her remarks, available on the Minnesota Legislature's website, show that Muhm did not advocate or assert -- either explicitly or by implication -- any right to "mutilate the genitals" of children. Muhm's comments can be viewed in full here, beginning at the 1:22:00 mark.

The text of the proposed legislation, introduced into Minnesota's House of Representatives on January 9, 2023, can be read in full here. In reference to gender-affirming health care for children, the bill states:

A law of another state that authorizes a state agency to remove a child from the child's parent or guardian because the parent or guardian allowed the child to receive gender-affirming health care...is against the public policy of this state and must not be enforced or applied in a case pending in a court in this state.

The legislation came against the backdrop of bills in several states, in late 2022 and early 2023, that would crack down on access to gender-affirming treatment for trans children and, in some cases, categorize the actions of parents of trans children as tantamount to child abuse.

HF 146 was designed to offer certain legal protections to families leaving such states. If implemented, it would ensure that trans children could not be taken into custody or separated from their parents or guardians in Minnesota on the basis of laws or court orders issued in other states.

Neither the text of HF 146, nor Muhm in her remarks mention "mutilation." However, opponents of gender-affirming treatment for children often use "genital mutilation," and similar language, as a shorthand for gender-affirming genital surgeries such as phalloplasty and vaginoplasty.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an organization that advises on medical care for the transgender community , sets out detailed guidelines for gender-affirming treatments for trans children in its Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People (Standards of Care 8), also known as SOC-8. These guidelines do not recommend genital surgery on children before puberty and do not refer to "mutilation." Rather, they state:

Per SOC-8, the only form of gender-affirming care for children before puberty is social support, such as allowing a child to choose clothing, hairstyles, or use of a different name that more closely aligns with their gender identity.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to transgender health can be found here.

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  Dan Mac Guill

Dan Mac Guill has been a fact checker at Lead Stories since August 2022. He is from Dublin, Ireland, and worked as a reporter for TheJournal.ie from 2014-2016, before helping to establish the Republic of Ireland's first fully-dedicated fact-checking service, for that outlet.

Read more about or contact Dan Mac Guill

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