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Rep. Harshbarger on Gender Confusion and Surgeries for Minors: Key Issue for Midterms

Gender confusion generated among young children and the promotion of life-altering transition treatments are motivational factors going into the upcoming midterms, said Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.), as the social issues have spread across the country, including the Bible belt, leading parents to take matters into their own hands.

“When you see the words pediatrics, transgender clinic, all that in one sentence … those two words should never be used together,” said Harshbarger during an interview on NTD’s Capitol Report. She said when the children are confused and questioned about their gender, that would cause agitations within the family.

“As for them wondering what their gender identity is: ‘Do you really think you’re a boy? Do you really think you’re a girl?’ That is really an abomination.”

Harshbarger said that the gender-affirming market was a “moneymaker.”

According to Clifford Alan Hopewell, a Fort Worth neuropsychologist, gender dysphoria is a relatively new diagnosis, made up so insurance companies will cover the costs of so-called gender-affirming care. “It’s all bogus,” Hopewell told The Epoch Times in a previous interview.

The current market for transgender surgery is expected to increase to $5 billion in 2030 from $2.1 billion in 2022, an 11 percent compound annual growth rate, according to Grand View Research, a market research company.

Hopewell cited a recently exposed 2018 Vanderbilt University video in which a hospital representative said that top surgeries could bring in $40,000 per patient. Harshbarger referenced the video in the interview.

Harshbarger also talked about the widespread prevalence of the issue. “You think that you’re sheltered from that, because we were part of the Bible Belt here in East Tennessee. But you’re not.” The gender-related problems “have crept in.”

Harshbarger then pointed to the Department of Justice’s stifling of debate regarding gender transition surgeries. “The head of the DOJ to go after those parents and call them terrorists or a threat—it’s unbelievable.”

Senators Confront Garland On Politically Weaponizing the DOJ

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) warned Attorney General Merrick Garland, head of the DOJ, not to target U.S. citizens speaking out against transgender surgeries on children.

They accused the DOJ of “patterned abuse of investigative authority to police the speech of Americans and stifle the ongoing policy debate over whether minors should receive experimental gender reassignment procedures.”

The senators wrote on Oct. 11 about Garland’s actions “in regard to the NSBA letter,” which “sent an inappropriate message that federal law enforcement can and will be used to aid one side of a political debate, and to either silence or chill the speech of the other.”

The Senators were referring to the National School Boards Association (NSBA) letter, which asked President Joe Biden for invoking counterterrorism laws to quell “angry mobs” of parents who were angry at school officials indoctrinating their children on sex and race.

Garland subsequently issued a memo and brought together law enforcement to counter the alleged “threats of violence” against teachers and school board members. The FBI counterterrorism unit created the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS,” and opened investigations into the activities of protesting parents.

“Now, in a remarkably similar fashion, medical associations have written to you asking you to again treat any speech critical of their position on a sensitive matter of public policy as a physical threat warranting a law enforcement response,” said the senators in the latest letter, and called upon Garland to protect “First Amendment rights,” and resist from politically weaponizing federal law enforcement agencies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and Children’s Hospital Association sent a letter (pdf) to Garland on Oct. 3 requesting help with alleged “threats” and “harassment” for offering “gender-affirming healthcare.”

“From Boston to Akron, [Ohio], to Nashville, [Tennessee], to Seattle, children’s hospitals, academic health systems, and physicians are being targeted and threatened for providing evidence-based healthcare,” the organizations wrote in language similar to that of the NSBA letter. “These attacks have not only made it difficult and dangerous for institutions and practices to provide this care, [but] they have also disrupted many other services to families seeking care.”

Darlene McCormick Sanchez contributed to the report.


Steve Lance is the host of Capitol Report, a political news show based in Washington aimed at providing a direct channel to the voices and people who shape policy in America. Capitol Report features all of the political news of the day with expert interviews and analysis.

Naveen Athrappully


Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.

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