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  • Michael Costa

Gays Against Groomers Colorado Takes on Youth Advisory Council and Gender-Based Guidelines in Education

In the heart of the legislative session, Coloradans have found themselves entangled in a heated debate over proposed laws, many of which driven by youth activists and championed by Janice Marchman and Sen. Faith Winter. At the center of this debate is the role of the "Colorado Youth Advisory Council," an initiative comprised of students aged 14 to 19 from across the state. This council researches policy and creates "youth-centered bills" in collaboration with a legislative interim committee.

Why are Colorado officials trusting children with the task of drafting legislation? Our concern is not about completely dismissing the voices of "transgender kids" but we are definitely suspicious of some of the dynamics at play here. Joe, a member of GAG's Colorado chapter, worries that the real driving force behind these laws might be adults with nefarious motives. He fears that young activists are being used as pawns to enact these policies and further an agenda that isn’t in their best interest.

Among the proposals put forward, two have ignited significant controversy. Bill #1 seeks to allow children to change their names and socially transition in the classroom without requiring parental permission. Specifically, the bill aims to require public schools to address students by their preferred names without necessitating a formal name or gender change. Failure to comply could get a staff member accused of harassment and discrimination. Advocates argue that this measure is vital in promoting inclusivity and acceptance among students.

However, critics see this as a direct infringement on parental rights, questioning whether children should have the authority to make such life-altering decisions without their parents knowing about it. A second bill proposes providing state grants to health providers to receive training in gender-affirming care and creating a task force to study obstacles faced by transgender people in Colorado. Gays Against Groomers found themselves in a legislative session fighting against these poorly-constructed bills pushed by Janice Marchman & Sen. Faith Winter, which will remove parental rights and ultimately hurt Colorado kids.

Here's what we had to say:

Madam Chair & Committee Members.  Thank you for letting me testify today.  My name is Joe. I am representing the Colorado Chapter of the non-profit organization, Gays Against Groomers. I live here in Jefferson County with my husband and our son, and as such I am speaking with authority as both a parent and a member of the LGBT Community.

I am here today to oppose all 6 bills being proposed in this committee because of the harm they will inflict on Colorado’s Youth. While you do not allow us time to address all 6, I will highlight the 2 most concerning. 

Bill 1 – Addresses Non-legal name changes. It is a fact that 90% of children who socially transition, will medically transition. Medical transition leads to lifelong complication of medical issues including, but not limited to, hormone therapy for life, osteoporosis, sterilization, and worse death. Children who medically transition have a 40% higher chance of attempting suicide over children who do not. This law creates a path to conceal this information from parents, however it is parents like myself that are left to care or worse bury their children after your poorly constructed laws have failed them. There is no doubt puberty is confusing and uncomfortable. But that does not give justification to allow a child to permanently harm their body. The NPTA standards for family and community engagement state it is a requirement for parents to be a consistent figure in their lives or the children will never succeed. Even California recognizes the role a parent plays in a child’s life and Governor Newsom vetoed a similar bill recently. 

Bill 6 – Covers the grant funding for Youth Gender-affirming care training. This bill is poorly written without defining any age limits or caps on cost. Between 50 and 96% of Colorado Children cannot pass basic Math, Science, or English, our funding should be directed towards teaching our children life skills so they can pay your salaries in the future. It is a fact most of you on this committee are not parents, these bills show how little you understand about our children and what is required to make them thrive. If I had more time I would speak on the other bills, but as it is not a requirement to push any of these bills through and I am asking you to vote no on all 6 bills in this committee today.  Thank you for your time.

We took even greater concern with Colorado schools adding “gender identity” and “gender expression” as categories of interest in their Title IX guidelines. Students are encouraged to use their preferred name, aligning with their “gender identity” instead of the ones that were given by their parents. Regardless of legal name changes, using a student’s preferred name is required. Not affirming a student's “gender identity,” including names and pronouns, is a violation.

Under these guidelines, school staff must not disclose a student’s transgender status unless legally required or authorized by the student. So, your child can secretly go by a completely different name and persona on a daily basis without your consent. Boys and girls get access to restrooms and sex-separated spaces aligning with whatever “gender identity” they choose, allowing them to identify their way into any shower or locker room they please. All parents are left in the dark about such arrangements, leaving limited space for students and staff to voice any discomfort they may be experiencing.

The guidelines force girls to compromise their physical safety both on and off the sports field. Girls are required to compete against boys in athletics, and sleeping arrangements on their overnight trips are no longer separated by biological sex. Integrating girls and boys into the same cabins and bunks had caused quite a bit of controversy.

Joe thoroughly addressed the importance of sex-based protections in the following speech:

I live here in Jefferson County with my husband and our son, and as such, I am speaking with authority as both a parent and a member of the LGB&T community. I am here tonight to address policy JB R-1 and to clarify how your policies baked around emotions instead of actual science are detrimentally affecting our children. To help you out on the science part, I have brought some facts with me tonight, so you cannot claim ignorance anymore. There are only two sexes -- there always has been and always will be. When you allow a child who is going through puberty to sleep with another child of the opposite sex it creates an opportunity for nature to set in. Your policy creates an opportunity for a child to be raped, and very well could have happened if the girl didn’t speak up.

Gender Dysphoria is a very serious psychological condition, I do not make light of this or what the other child was going through. Depending on the study referenced, your number will vary slightly, but in the article I will reference (PMC5564039), 84.9% of trans individuals have experienced physical or sexual abuse, which lead to their transition. If we apply the Cycle of Abuse theory to this situation, this means YOUR policy more than likely aided a victim and could have become a perpetrator, continuing a vicious cycle. So I will be clear. A child (or adult) should NEVER room with another child of the opposite sex. It does not matter if they identify as a male or a female. Your policy might be well intentioned to protect a child going through a very serious psychological issue but does not justify hurting innocent bystanders. That is not transphobic. It is common sense. Something this board clearly lacks. As 1 in 4 females will be sexually abused before they turn 18, this policy is absolutely unacceptable.

We at Gays Against Groomers denounce this policy. We stand with the rest of the parents here today to say enough is enough. We call for immediate action to revoke this policy and replace it. The new policy should be as follows: “Students attending overnight school sanctioned events shall only room with children of the same sex. Students who suffer from Gender Dysphoria may request a private room at their own expense or choose to forfeit their trip.” That is fair, and that is inclusive. Anything short of that is not just a violation of Title’s also another one of the many reasons why every parent should disenroll their child from JeffCo Public Schools. Thank you for your time.


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