Republican politician compares doctors saving the lives of trans kids to Nazis
A Republican politician who wants to make it illegal to provide gender-related healthcare to trans teens has compared doctors who treat transgender children to Nazis.
Fred Deutsch, who is sponsoring the South Dakota bill that would send doctors to jail for giving puberty-blocking medication to trans teens, made the comments in the same week as the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
More than one million people, most of whom were Jewish, were killed in the concentration camp’s gas chambers.
As politicians in South Dakota consider bringing in the first US law that could criminalise healthcare for trans youth, Deutsch compared the doctors who treat them to Nazis.
Deutsch made the comments in a January 22 interview with Tony Perkins, the president of anti-LGBT+ organisation Family Research Council, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“To me, that’s a crime against humanity when these procedures are done by these so-called doctors,” Deutsch said.
“You know, I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor. I’ve had family members killed in Auschwitz. And I’ve seen the pictures of the bizarre medical experiments. I don’t want that to happen to our kids. And that’s what’s going on right now.”
Deutsch is Catholic, but was raised by a Jewish father who survived Auschwitz.
The State House’s Democratic leader, Jamie Smith, said Deutsch’s comments were “ridiculous”.
“What doctors are providing is the best care they know for their patients,” Smith told the Argus Leader.
Deutsch later apologised for his comments, telling The Washington Post on January 27: “I regret making the comparison. I regret saying anything at all. It was pretty stupid.”
He said that he had looked at photos of scars from gender-confirmation surgery and they had provoked an emotional response in him.
“You look at photos of the Holocaust and they’re gross,” Deutsch told The Post.
“And then you look at the scars of these children and they’re equally – I don’t know if they’re equally – they’re also gross. Sometimes you see a picture, you hear a sound, you smell something that reminds you of something else and that’s all it was.”
But he added that he still supports the bill he sponsored, saying that hormone treatment for trans under-16’s “can potentially sterilise children and potentially mutilate children”.
The hormone treatment most commonly given to trans kids is puberty-blocking medication.
Puberty blockers are a safe, reversible treatment that have been found to significantly reduce the likelihood of trans youths attempting to die by suicide or suffering from long-term mental-health problems.
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Trans children under the age of 18 very rarely undergo any kind of gender-confirmation surgery.
The South Dakota bill is one of more than a dozen currently being proposed in the US targeting trans youth, including placing restrictions on healthcare for transgender children and teenagers and barring them from participating in schools sports teams as their true gender.