Testimony on Multiple Pieces of Gender Legislation (2023-2024)

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Written Testimony[1] in Opposition to Multiple Pieces of Gender Legislation
93rd Legislature 2023-24

Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.” – Pope Francis, 3/9/23

We write to express our opposition in the strongest terms to multiple pieces of related legislation that seek to enshrine into law a deeply flawed and fictional account of the human person that will bring harm to vulnerable young people.  Many young people are struggling with confusion about their basic human experience and their identity, often caused by peer influence and cultural forces.  Families are seeking honest help, yet pharmaceutical companies and some unscrupulous doctors are negligently funneling kids into a lifetime of surgical and hormonal treatments, which has already created a billion-dollar business.  By denying the reality that we are each created male and female, we are doing irreversible damage to children and inhibiting their future ability to form families.[2] 

“To affirm someone in an identity at odds with their biological sex or to affirm a person’s desired ‘transition’ is to mislead that person”[3] to his or her detriment.  And though every instance of unjust discrimination must be avoided against persons with gender discordance, we cannot allow gender ideology to grow unchecked, as ample evidence suggests that “gender-affirming care” not only does not resolve a person’s psychological struggles but exacerbates them.  “The acceptance and/or approval of a person’s claimed transgender identity is particularly dangerous in the case of children, whose psychological development is both delicate and incomplete.”[4] We cannot mislead them down a path of irreversible consequences and a lifetime of pain.

The bills referenced in this testimony that we oppose are as follows:

  • H.F. 16 / S.F. 23 – Counseling Ban (“conversion therapy ban”)
  • H.F. 146 / S.F. 63 – “Trans Refuge Bill”
  • H.F. 173 / S.F. 37 – Equal Rights Amendment
  • H.F. 1655 / S.F. 1886 – Human Rights Act Exemptions Removed
  • H.F. 2280 / S.F. 2236 – Right to Gender-Affirming Care Act
  • H.F. 2607 / S.F. 2209 – Gender-Affirming Care Coverage Mandated

These bills, at their core, are based on the same worldview and principle: gender theory. Therefore, we will speak to the underlying errant principle and highlight how these related bills work together to enshrine this worldview that promotes the plasticity of human nature into law.  In its place, we propose the reality of the two sexes as fundamentally relational—made for each other and made for life in the lifelong, fruitful commitment of one man and one woman in marriage. 

Gender theory

Today, we see an exponential growth in gender discordance and people identifying as transgender or non-binary.[5]  It is undeniable that the spread of gender theory, particularly within the medical and psychological professions, not to mention academia and public schools, has fueled this transgender moment aided and abetted by widespread use of social media.  What is completely novel in our time is the rapid increase and onset of gender discordance among girls and women, and that some people believe they are born in the “wrong body,” which allegedly requires physical interventions to make the body conform to the subjective psychological state of the individual.  With gender theory flooding our culture, we must consider what it is and why it must be rejected.

“The ideal presented by gender theory is that the individual should be able to choose his or her own status, and that society should limit itself to guaranteeing this right, and even providing material support, since the minorities involved would otherwise suffer negative social discrimination.”[6]

More specifically, gender theory “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.”[7] This ideology leads to educational programs and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.[8]

Here, we see clearly then the logic of H.F. 2280/S.F. 2236 (the Right to Gender Affirming Care), which asserts a right to subjectively define one’s existence.  It relies on the state to coerce others into pretending that the objective reality of one’s biological sex is irrelevant and to provide medical and surgical interventions to manipulate the body accordingly, as provided in Gov. Walz’s Executive Order 23-03 and enshrined in H.F. 2607/S.F. 2209

The underlying presuppositions of gender theory “can be traced back to a dualistic anthropology, separating body (reduced to the status of inert matter) from human will, which itself becomes an absolute that can manipulate the body as it pleases. . . . In all such theories, from the most moderate to the most radical, there is agreement that one’s gender identity ends up being viewed as more important than being of male or female sex. The effect of this move is chiefly to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism, and secondarily a juridical revolution, since such beliefs claim specific rights for the individual and across society.”[9]

Although some ideologies of gender claim to respond, as Pope Francis has indicated, “to what are at times understandable aspirations,” and to overly rigid social roles or stereotypes imposed upon the sexes, they “assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised.”[10] 

Falsehoods cannot perpetuate themselves without suppressing dissent

At heart, most of the bills highlighted in this testimony are coercive, particularly regarding children.  To ensure that children have access to “gender-affirming care” under H.F. 146/S.F. 63, the state of Minnesota would disregard the public policy and custody determinations of other states and allow non-custodial parents and others to bring minors into Minnesota for treatments.

The so-called conversion therapy ban (H.F. 16/S.F. 23) prevents minors from seeking the assistance of the psychological sciences that can help align their subjective mental state in accord with the reality of their biological sex.[11] Instead, the counseling ban would have the perverse effect of funneling kids into gender-affirming care as their only option.  In Europe, many countries are rethinking this paradigm,[12] and even early proponents in the United States have raised alarm about how casually children are being referred for physical interventions to align with their subjective sense of gender,[13] even though the overwhelming majority will desist from a transgender identity.[14]

Meanwhile, H.F. 1655/S.F. 1886 seeks to remove long-established distinctions related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the Minnesota Human Rights Act and require homesteading landlords and youth organizations to accommodate both same-sex couples and those who identify as transgender.

The proposed state Equal Rights Amendment, H.F. 173/S.F. 37, is a redundancy considering the breadth of federal civil rights law and the presence of the state’s Human Rights Act. The bill is actually intended to function as a super statute and constitutional mandate that countermands any attempt to create accommodations or exemptions for those who do not go along with gender theory.  Even more troubling, the legislation would have a chilling effect by potentially undermining and overriding longstanding constitutional protections of free speech, freedom of association, and the free exercise of religion.

The brave new world of gender theory is imposing itself by force and displacing the remaining vestiges of a civilized order built upon the proper relation of the sexes and the natural family of mother-father-child.  

Reality: Sex is received as a gift; not something assigned at birth

Plain is the reality that men and women are made for each other and made for life.  The truth of our vocation—to love and, in doing so, to be fruitful and multiply—is written into the very structure of our bodies.  The differences seen in biological men and women are not solely found in the reproductive organs—they run deep in our person.  The reality is that, though biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished, they cannot be separated.[15]

Our received (not assigned) “characteristics which, on the biological, psychological and spiritual levels, make that person a man or a woman [and] thereby largely condition his or her progress towards maturity and insertion into society.”[16]

“[T]he data of biological and medical science shows that ‘sexual dimorphism’ (that is, the sexual difference between men and women) can be demonstrated scientifically by such fields as genetics, endocrinology, and neurology. From the point of view of genetics, male cells (which contain XY chromosomes) differ, from the very moment of conception, from female cells (with their XX chromosomes).”[17]  We are “sexed” beings at the very foundation of our existence.

In fact, the perpetuation of the human race depends on acknowledging biological sex. “The physiological complementarity of male-female sexual difference assures the necessary conditions for procreation. In contrast, only recourse to reproductive technology can allow one of the partners in a relationship of two persons of the same sex to generate offspring, using ‘in vitro’ fertilization or a surrogate mother.[18] However, the use of such technology is not a replacement for natural conception, since it involves the manipulation of human embryos, the fragmentation of parenthood, the instrumentalization and/or commercialization of the human body, as well as the reduction of a baby to an object in the hands of science and technology.[19]

“The denial of this [male-female] duality not only erases the vision of human beings as the fruit of an act of creation but creates the idea of the human person as a sort of abstraction who ‘chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him.’”[20]


We have laid out what is at stake, namely, two competing versions of the human person and what can constitute happiness and fulfillment.  One—gender theory—is radically individualistic and has the harmful and dangerous effect of isolating persons from others and erasing their ability to live the communitarian and relational reality of the natural family.  The other—the natural family—is not an imposition, but the key and path to happiness and flourishing.  As we see all around us, the collapse of the family and family fragmentation are root causes of many social pathologies, including joblessness, suicide, addiction, crime, and violence in many forms.

The transgender moment, then, is exactly that—a moment.  The moral panic and hysteria that characterize it must be checked by reasonable minds who, even if not wedded to the anthropological vision proposed above, should at least look at the facts related to so-called gender-affirming care and the stories and witness of those who are de-transitioning.[21]  No amount of masculinizing or feminizing pharmaceuticals or surgeries can make a man a woman or vice versa.

And though one might claim that the two worldviews can co-exist, they cannot. Will we, as a society, convert to embrace the authentic and truthful vision of the human person that constitutes human happiness, or will we succumb to the counterfeit version of radical individualism that seeks to treat the body as a tool to be manipulated, and require others to physically affirm our subjective preferences? Please reject these legislative proposals.



[1] Submitted by Jason Adkins, Executive Director ([email protected]), and Maggee Hangge, Policy and Public Relations Associate ([email protected]), for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

[2] “Under no circumstances should parents seek ‘gender-affirming’ therapy for their children, as it is fundamentally incompatible with the truth of the human person.  They should not seek, encourage, or approve any counseling or medical procedures that would confirm mistaken understandings of human sexuality and identity, or lead to (often irreversible) bodily mutilation.” Bishop Michael Burbidge, “A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology,” Catholic Diocese of Arlington, 13, available at https://www.arlingtondiocese.org/bishop/public-messages/2021/a-catechesis-on-the-human-person-and-gender-ideology/.

[3] Id. at 8.

[4] Id. at 8.

[5] Data varies, but according to GLAAD, twelve percent of Millennials identified as transgender or nonbinary in a 2017 survey, available at:  https://www.glaad.org/blog/new-glaad-study-reveals-twenty-percent-millennials-identify-lgbtq.  For Gen Z, those percentages double, available at: https://www.newsweek.com/people-who-identify-transgender-doubles-gen-z-1783562.

[6] Congregation for Catholic Education, Male and Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education, February 2, 2019, at 9.

[7] Id. at 14.

[8] Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, March 19, 2016, at 56.

[9] Male and Female, at 20.

[10] Id. at 20.

[11] “Psychotherapic treatments that incorporate ongoing therapeutic work to address unresolved trauma and loss, the maintenance of subjective well-being, and the development of the self, along with established treatments addressing suicidal ideation are appropriate interventions.” Burbidge, supra, at 9.

[12] Tom Howell, Jr., “U.S. more permissive than Europe about gender-change treatments, study finds,” Washington Times, Jan. 17, 2023, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jan/17/us-more-permissive-europe-about-gender-change-trea/.

[13] Abigail Shrier, “Top Trans Doctors Blow the Whistle on Sloppy Care,” The Free Press, Oct. 4, 2001, available at https://www.thefp.com/p/top-trans-doctors-blow-the-whistle.

[14] Studies indicate the numbers are at least 88 percent. https://www.transgendertrend.com/children-change-minds/.

[15] Burbidge, supra, at 2.

[16] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Persona Humana, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, 29 December 1975, at 1.

[17] Male and Female, at 27.

[18] S.F. 1704: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?f=SF1704&b=senate&y=2023&ssn=0.

[19] Male and Female, at 28.

[20] Id. at 34.  Here, one must acknowledge the tragedy that so many young people feel alienation from their bodies, due largely in part to a culture of sexual abuse and brokenness. Or, seeking identity in a rootless culture, young people gravitate toward the particular social phenomenon of a nonbinary identity for acknowledgement, community, and acceptance.  We assert firmly that each child experiencing these challenges must be accompanied pastorally, medically, and psychologically into living a properly integrated sexual identity.  The tragedy of the counseling (“conversion therapy”) ban is that it limits a child’s ability to be assisted by the psychological sciences, funneling him or her into the real conversion therapy of gender-affirming care. 

[21] See, e.g., the Twitter accounts of @detrans_voices and @detransaware.

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