US Rep Suggests People Should Have To Wait Until Age 21 To Come Out
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US Representative Lauren Boebert has suggested that people should be required to wait until they are 21 before making decisions about their sexuality or gender identity.
It's not entirely clear whether Boebert's suggestion referred to all LGBTQ+ individuals, or more specifically to members of the transgender community, with trans youth in particular having been increasingly targeted by Republicans over the course of the past few years.
In a tweet, the controversial Republican appeared to conflate identifying as LGBTQ+ with smoking or drinking, writing: "We require people to be 21 to purchase alcohol beverages, and 21 to purchase tobacco products. Why is it so unreasonable to require people to reach a certain level of maturity before making life-altering decisions about their sexuality and identity?"
Boebert's tweet comes as a number of states have moved to ban under-18 trans youth from accessing gender affirming health care services, such as hormone replacement therapy or psychological counselling, while also introducing measures to ban trans children from playing sports or using bathrooms different to their sex at birth. Across the US gender affirming surgical procedures are generally already only available to adults.
The tweet also plays into long dismissed claims by social conservatives that ones sexuality is a 'choice,' while also appearing to suggest that LGBTQ+ individuals should be made to wait longer than heterosexuals to express their sexuality or identity.
We require people to be 21 to purchase alcohol beverages, and 21 to purchase tobacco products.— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) April 1, 2022
Why is it so unreasonable to require people to reach a certain level of maturity before making life-altering decisions about their sexuality and identity?
The current age of sexual consent is 16 across the majority of the US, though some state laws require residents to be either 17 or 18 to give informed consent to sexual activity. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that the right to privacy when it comes to sexual activity between consenting parties above the age of consent is protected under the US Constitution.
Boebert - one of the most prominent pro-Trump Republican lawmakers in Congress - has previously come under fire for her anti-LGBTQ+ views. The Colorado Rep is opposed to the Equality Act, which would guarantee federal civil rights protections for the LGBTQ+ community, calling it 'dangerous' and 'disgusting.'
More than half of the 50 states across the United States currently do not enshrine civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people in law.
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If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers