Overbeck: Transgender fans try to kill parent’s rights and girls-only sports ballot initiatives 

By Joy Overbeck | Guest Commentary

The transgender craze infecting our schools and dumping many gender-confused young children headfirst into a bewildering pipeline of puberty-blocking drugs, hormone injections and eventually gender-mutilating surgery, is making progress in Colorado thanks to the legislature’s ruling Democrat majority. 

A bill allowing children as young as kindergarten to change their names to an opposite-sex name without the school telling parents (HB24-1039) is awaiting the governor’s signature. The epic lie that children can reject their own bodies and instead “choose their preferred gender” can lead to tragedy as young people who have regretted their transitions are increasingly telling us. 

But now concerned parents, grandparents and ordinary citizens are fighting back, coming together at www.protectkidsColorado.org and other groups to put initiatives on the ballot upholding parents’ right to know if their child is “identifying” as the opposite sex. Pro-parent moms like Lori Gimelshteyn of Colorado Parent Advocacy Network (https://www.coloradoparents.org) and Erin Lee, whose young daughter was convinced she was transgender by woke operatives at a secret “Art Club” meeting (watch the film for free – https://www.artclubmovie.com) are leading the charge, along with former state Senator Kevin Lundberg.

They have been jousting since January with the state Title Board (two of the three members are appointed by Democrat officials) to obtain approval for a ballot initiative that will simply require schools to inform parents if their child is experiencing “gender incongruence” – that is, believing they are the opposite gender.  

It seems like a no-brainer to involve parents in these life-changing issues that children are mentally and emotionally ill-equipped to navigate alone. So seeing how far the Democrat pro-lgbtq etc. lobby will go to defeat this simple, common-sense proposal is a shock. Since February, the proponents have been fighting repeated objections and challenges from leftist attorney Mark Grueskin whose law firm often represents the ACLU and the state’s most activist lgbtq group, One Colorado.

Grueskin and his powerful allies’ onslaught against parental rights didn’t end with months of repeated requests for Title Board rehearings on technicalities; as a last-ditch effort, they even appealed the initiative to the Colorado Supreme Court. All these lengthy diversions serve just one purpose: to delay final Title approval and foil supporters’ ability to collect the 200,000 signatures that must be submitted by August 5 to place the initiative on the ballot. This petition drive will require our time and treasure if we hope to keep our children safe from the woke war on their innocence. Join the effort at www.protectkidscolorado.org .

Parent supporters are sponsoring several other important initiatives now working their way through the thickets of officialdom. You can follow the progress of these ballot proposals on the Secretary of State’s website here: www.coloradosos.gov/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/index.html

The anti-parent forces know that by filing frivolous appeals to the Colorado Supreme Court they can add many weeks delay to the fast-approaching petition submission date, maybe eliminating these pro-family initiatives from the ballot altogether. That’s their sly strategy, well-funded by woke groups that can afford the big legal fees.

Their latest ploy is a Supreme Court appeal against an initiative that would permit only biological females to compete in female school athletic sports. The left of course is a furious enemy of this radical concept. (it’s #160 – “Public Athletic Programs for Minors” on the Sec.of State’s Initiatives website.)

Dr. Rich Guggenheim has been very busy for months down at the legislature, testifying against over a half dozen bills that push the trans agenda. With a Ph.D. in molecular pathology, he’s not shy about defining what a woman is. He’s also the designated representative shepherding the girls-only-in-girls-sports ballot initiative 160 through the Title Board process.

What may surprise some: he’s also proudly gay, and an activist with Gays Against Groomers, a nationwide  nonprofit that opposes “the recent trend of indoctrinating, sexualizing, and medicalizing children under the guise of LGBTQIA+.” (@GAG_colorado)

Says Dr. Guggenheim: “This is about so much more than sports and keeping girls safe when they play sports. It’s about stopping those who are robbing females of the rights, protections and opportunities they fought for – ensuring that women have athletic, academic and career opportunities without being forced out by men claiming they are women. Transgender ideology is nothing but misogyny and we all have to fight against it.” 

Guggenheim, like so many in the war against woke cultism, has been threatened and harassed for his views by the hypocrisy gang. Something called the Parasol Patrol, which wields rainbow-colored umbrellas to “shield children” from anyone who disagrees with them at drag shows and other such events, circulated a petition that successfully banished Guggenheim from his favorite Denver gay club. Cancel culture right there, from that very tolerant group always shrieking about being canceled. Dr. Guggenheim thinks it’s worth it. 

He and Christina Goeke of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Network are suing leading Democrat members of the Colorado Senate and House Judiciary Committees for unlawfully infringing their free speech rights at an April 5 committee hearing on House Bill 24-1071. This bill legalizes the brilliant idea that if a convicted felon (including child rapists, pedophiles, etc. even if they’re from another state) decides he (and these will be mostly males) was born in the wrong body, he can change his gender and name to female, conveniently avoiding being listed on Colorado’s Sex Offender Registry. What?

Rep. Leslie Herod, a prominent Democrat enforcer of the transgender cult’s catechism in the House Judiciary Committee, had Goeke escorted out of the hearing room by the sergeant-at-arms after she dared to call a man a man. Herod is an activist member of the legislature’s militant LGBTQ etc. Caucus, (yes, there is such a thing) which has been aggressively filing bills promoting their ideology for years. 

As Goeke asserted “there is no such thing as transgender,” her words were nearly drowned out by the explosive volleys of boos from the lgbtq audience, their outburst unchecked by the committee chair, Rep. Weissman. Weissman gaveled Goeke to a halt but allowed the booers non-stop interruptions. (The video is at @goeke_christina.)

Censorship runs rampant for anyone transgressing the sacred gospel of transgenderism. The ensuing federal lawsuit, filed by the non-profit Institute for Free Speech, names Colorado state reps Garcia, Weissman, Herod, and State Senators Gonzales and Michaelson-Jenet for having unlawfully restricted or chilled speech in debate, cutting off testimony, and even erasing portions of Goeke’s testimony from the official audio recording of the hearing. 

Since man and woman were first created, every culture and society has understood that parents are the first and most important guides of their children’s care and upbringing. Parents are the original Department of Health, Education and Welfare for their offspring. But now we have to fight for that basic universal truth and our God-given right to raise our children.  

The issue of parents having paramount responsibility for their children’s healthcare shouldn’t be contentious, but it is with leftist politicians passing laws shifting that authority to the state and even to the child. Ballot initiative #207 (on the Secretary of State’s website) attempts to right this wrong. But on April 3 the Title Board refused to approve this initiative that would put into law parents’ right to consent to the medical or mental health treatment of their minor (under 18) child. 

With abortion anytime for anyone a top priority in Colorado, the Board seems worried that parental consent would undermine current Colorado law that allows anyone under 18 to get an abortion with the sole requirement of parental notification (which a judge can waive) NOT consent. (coag.gov/app/uploads/2022/06/Know-Your-Reproductive-Rights.pdf) Children aren’t allowed to have surgery without their parents’ involvement – why should the life and death procedure of abortion be any different?

Initiative 207 would probably also call into question House Bill 19-1120, passed four years ago, that allows minors to access mental health services starting at age 12 without parental consent.  The danger there is that children are being captivated by the social media “transitioner” stars they see on YouTube and Instagram, like Dylan Mulvaney of Budweiser fame. Young people at that vulnerable age of questioning everything are led to questioning their gender. The medical and mental health professional organizations, from pediatrics to psychology and even school counselors, have all officially embraced “gender-affirming care.” This means they encourage a confused 12-year-old to begin puberty-blocking drugs and then on to cross-sex hormones which do great damage to young psyches and bodies. These powerful drugs aren’t reversible, and they can render a youngster sterile for life. Mental health counseling can reach into referrals for these treatments that can permanently alter a child’s life – without parental supervision or consent.

Now that this critical children’s health initiative has been blocked from the ballot by the Title Board (which claims it involves more than one subject) Erin Lee and Lori Gimelshteyn, who have spent countless hours in many months down at the Capitol in hearings and re-hearings on this parents’ rights initiative, may have one final move left. “If we can raise enough money, we hope to take this one to the Colorado Supreme Court,” says Gimelshteyn of Colorado Parents Advisory Network. “We and other parents who have seen the damage this trans contagion can do to young people just can’t let parents’ sacred duty to guide their children be stripped out of these vulnerable young people’s lives.”

To help ensure that doesn’t happen, go to www.coloradoparents.org  Knowledge plus money equals power. 

Joy Overbeck is a Colorado  journalist whose work has appeared at Townhall.com, Rocky Mountain Voice, American Thinker, The Washington Times, Complete Colorado, The Federalist and elsewhere. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter (X) @joyoverbeck1

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in commentary pieces are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the management of the Rocky Mountain Voice, but even so we support the constitutional right of the author to express those opinions.