The battle in the US Congress over transgenderism and minor children could potentially sink the Biden Administration’s first major piece of legislation, the so-called “Equality Act”.

Uniting both women’s rights activists and conservatives, the fight also demonstrates the degree to which the administration’s commitment to the most extreme parts of the progressive agenda, such as late-term abortion and transgenderism, can imperil its more popular economic initiatives.

Passed by the House on February 18, the Equality Act would expand the provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to forbid discrimination of any kind based on sexual orientation and “gender identity.”

When it comes to employment specifically, this is nothing new: The US Supreme Court ruled last year that that discrimination in employment on the basis of “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Moreover, one recent poll shows that a slim majority of all Americans, about 51 percent, supports the broad goal of non-discrimination against people based solely on sexual orientation.

However, the proposed legislation goes far beyond the Supreme Court’s ruling and what most people understand the Equality Act to be about, criminalizing resistance to gender ideology itself.

For example, under the sweeping terms of the Act, Catholic hospitals and physicians could be forced to prescribe hormone treatments or perform surgical removal of genitalia in violation of their ethical standards.

“This is very dangerous legislation in that it literally mandates that health professionals do harm to people,” insisted Dr Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians.

“This act says that a health professional cannot deny treatment to a person based on their gender identity… Refusing to go along with prescribing these dangerous hormones, refusing to go along with performing the mutilating surgeries, you would be in violation of federal discrimination laws, and you would be subject to those penalties.”

Plus, it is not just physicians who could face legal jeopardy under the Equality Act.

Parents and coaches who object to biological males competing in track meets and soccer games against biological females would also have no recourse – and could actually face penalties if they try to block such competitions.

Ignoring all scientific evidence, trans activists and their political supporters falsely claim that anyone who was born a biological male but now “identifies” as female is a female in every sense – even though natal males have different DNA on the cellular level, have different sexual organs, and possess up to twice the upper body strength of average natal females.

The issue of women’s sports and the use of “gender-affirming” treatments for minor children have become the flash points in the debate over the Equality Act – and could well derail the legislation in the US Senate.

For the act to become law, it faces an uphill battle where a 60-vote super-majority is required to bypass a likely Republican-led filibuster.

During a contentious confirmation hearing February 25 for the assistant secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Republican senators vigorously pushed back against the proposed nominee, a “transgender woman” named Dr Rachel Levine – a 63-year-old doctor, once known as Richard Levine, who “transitioned” in 2011.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), himself a medical doctor, demanded to know if Dr Levine supported allowing minor children, with or without the consent of their parents, to use puberty-blocking drugs or undergo permanent surgical removal of their sexual organs.

Senator Rand Paul questions President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health

Paul pointed out that virtually every medical and human rights organization in the world, including the World Health Organization, opposes the practice of what he called “genital mutilation” even when undergone voluntarily in societies that openly accept it.

Further, Paul pointed to studies that show up to 98 percent of children who suffer from gender confusion or dysphoria see the issue resolve itself after puberty.

Other studies show that that people who actually undergo “gender-affirming” surgeries and treatments, advocated by Levine and the Biden Administration, suffer from far higher suicide rates and mental health problems than those who do not. By one analysis of Swedish data, the suicide rate among those who opted for gender-affirming treatment (GAT) was 19 times higher than it was for the general population.

Yet despite the scientific data, Paul revealed that many physicians and health organizations continue to prescribe “off label” hormone-blocking drugs to prepubescent children, resulting in permanent damage to their sexual reproductive organs and, in the case of boys, chemical castration.

“American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors could be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics,” Paul said. “Dr Levine, do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?”

Levine refused to answer Paul’s question about whether minors should have surgical interventions performed on them. “Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed,” Levine replied.

It is apparent that the political left in America senses it is vulnerable on the issue of transgenderism and children.

After Paul’s questioning of Dr Levine, the corporate media immediately sprang to Levine’s defense, insisting without evidence that Paul’s description of “gender-affirming surgery” as “mutilation” was inaccurate.  

Vox termed Paul’s questioning “transphobic misinformation.” The Washington Post’s lifestyle reporter called the remarks of Paul, himself an MD, “ignorant.”

The big tech platforms now routinely ban as hate speech all content that questions the official “trans” narrative, and trans activists have successfully lobbied to have books critical of trans ideology removed from Amazon and other bookstores.

In late February, bestselling author Ryan Anderson, author of When Harry Became Sally, a book critical of the trans movement, announced that his book had been suddenly removed from Amazon without any explanation.

The same fate befell Wall Street Journal reporter Abigail Shrier’s bestselling exposé of the transgender movement’s effect on natal girls, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.

Shrier’s book was pulled from shelves by Target Corporation after a single Twitter user complained — until the resulting negative publicity forced the corporation to reverse itself.

Facing an uphill battle in the court of public opinion – particular in regards to women’s rights in sports and other venues – the political left has, as usual, turned to mob violence and threats to get its way.

In recent years, trans activists have tried their best to “cancel” bestselling British author J.K Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series, solely due to her public insistence that a woman should not be fired from her job merely for saying that a biological male cannot scientifically become a biological female.

It appears, however, that the authoritarian mob tactics used by the transgender movement may be backfiring.

A Rasmussen poll revealed that nearly twice as many Americans (54 percent) oppose allowing transgender students to participate on the sports team of the gender they identify with compared to those who support it (28 percent).

In addition, a growing number of traditional feminists and women’s rights activists, alarmed by how biological males are now infiltrating once-protected female spaces, organizations and sports programs, are pushing back against what they see as an anti-science, anti-female ideology.

In the political sphere, the battle over “trans rights” is heating up again – and could, as in the case of the Equality Act, torpedo less controversial aspects of Biden Administration’s agenda.

Robert J. Hutchinson is the author, most recently, of What Really Happened: The Death of Hitler. https://amzn.to/39okvQL