A Democratic South Carolina state lawmaker is under fire from his Democratic colleagues over his decision to author a bill banning the performance of transgender reassignment procedures on minors.
The bill, called the "South Carolina Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act" and sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Cezar McKnight, would prohibit the performance of any and all medical procedures aimed at altering a minor's sex or gender, including hormone treatments and surgical operations.
The bill also defines one's sex as the "biological state of being male or female, based on the individual's sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles." The legislation states, in part:
No person shall engage in, counsel, make a referral for, or cause any of the following practices to be performed upon a minor if the practice is performed for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of or affirm the minor's perception of the minor's gender or sex, if that perception is inconsistent with the minor's sex as defined in this chapter:
(1) prescribing, dispensing, administering, or otherwise supplying puberty-blocking medication to stop or delay normal puberty;
(2) prescribing, dispensing, administering, or otherwise supplying supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or other androgens to females;
(3) prescribing, dispensing, administering, or otherwise supplying supraphysiologic doses of estrogen to males;
(4) performing surgeries that sterilize, including castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, and penectomy;
(5) performing surgeries that artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the individual's sex, including metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty; or
(6) removing any healthy or nondiseased body part or tissue.
McKnight, who is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, told the Associated Press recently that his constituents, most of whom are black, are largely supportive of the measure.
"Black Democrats tend to be more conservative than white progressives," he told the news agency. "I would not have ever put this bill forward if I didn't think the people in my district wouldn't be receptive, and they are. Pastors, young parents, older parents, they all tell me the same thing: If you want to do this, wait until you're 18."
However, not everyone in McKnight's party feels the same way. His decision to introduce the legislation — which now has 23 Republican co-sponsors — caused an immediate uproar among Democratic Party members in the state.
After the bill was introduced, leaders of the South Carolina Democratic Party approved a resolution saying the party "condemns this outrageous bill — and its Democratic supporters — in the strongest possible terms." The resolution reportedly received unanimous approval from the executive committee, which consists of two representatives from each of the state's 46 counties.
That was just the beginning of the backlash. The AP reported that since then, former and current members of the party have taken to social media to attack McKnight, one even suggesting that the lawmaker be censured. But McKnight has no intention of withdrawing the legislation.
"This bill isn't anti-trans," he said. "I just don't think, to make a sex change during the teen years, is something someone should do."