Parents, the State, and the Reproductive Health of Minors


Written by Joseph Dunsay. After earning a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Joseph Dunsay became a science writer for international audiences. For more Jewrotica writing by Joseph, check out The Disadvantages of Polygyny Make Couples Choose Monogamy, The Scientific Opinion Regarding Gender Specific Brains is Mixed, The Roman Empire Left an Imprint on Jewish Genes, Teledildonics May Help Jewish Husbands Travel, Madness and Humanity’s Gene Pool, The Significance of Secondary Sex Characteristics, Changing Views Towards Anal Sex, Jewish Genetic Links to East Asia and South Asia, and The Morality of Creating Designer Babies.

Rated PG

As a minority, Jews have faced opposition from time to time against various Jewish practices. A long standing tradition that seems normal to Jews sometimes seems like a harmful aberration in the eyes of political activists. For example, the Jewish custom of circumcising Jewish boys eight days after birth came under attack in California a few years ago.

Activists worked in San Francisco and Santa Monica to ban circumcision. Publications produced by this movement ranged from websites that focused on babies to websites that contained anti-Semitic imagery. Although mohels can point to generations of men who were circumcised without problems and the medical community sees little harm or benefit to circumcision, far too many people wanted to use the law to tell parents how to treat their children. Their efforts came to naught when a judge and a new state law blocked their progress.

Circumcision is a particularly sensitive topic, because it involves the reproductive system of a minor. Gay conversion therapy for minors makes many people uncomfortable, because it attempts to change a minor’s sexual orientation. This year, proposed legislation in New York and Israel went after practitioners who try to make minors straight with gay conversion therapy. If enacted, a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors takes decision making power out of the hands of parents and into the government’s hands.

Parents in the UK are having their own struggles with government officials over their children’s alternative identities. Each year, a number of British children change their gender identities. Parents who support this process sometimes face non-compliant employees at government funded schools who will not accept their children as transgender. Families facing this difficulty can turn to Mermaids, a British nonprofit, for support. A spokesperson for Mermaids said that about half the schools they work with are rather accommodating.

Given the positions on the cultural left and cultural right, it is unlikely that a single person would think that circumcision, gay conversion therapy, and being transgender are all good things for a child to experience. For brevity’s sake, this article doesn’t consider the harms or benefits associated with gay conversion therapy or an acceptance of transgender identities. Instead, it focuses on who should decide what is best for children facing these struggles.

Keeping decisions over these matters in the hands of parents brings discussions about them into the home where cultural views are tempered by concern for kin. Experience having to fight for the right to circumcise Jewish sons in times and places where circumcision was not the norm should make Jews sympathetic towards families with LGBT children. However one feels about the decisions families make, one can at least trust that parents are trying to do what is best for their children.

After earning a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Joseph Dunsay became a science writer for international audiences. His LGBT erotic e-book launched in the summer of 2015.