Marshall demands special parental warnings on television shows exploring gender issues

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TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall wants a television monitoring board to expand a ratings system to warn parents about content in youth programs relating to people with a desire to be another gender.

The Kansas Republican joined four U.S. Senate colleagues on a letter urging the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board to push back against “left-wing sexual politics” embodied in Walt Disney Co.’s opposition to the Florida “don’t say gay” law prohibiting educators from delving into gender issues with children in kindergarten through third grade.

Marshall and U.S. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, Steve Daines of Montana and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota recommended the board update guidelines to feature ratings on content tied to gender dysphoria so parents or guardians could more easily block kids from viewing LGBTQ content.

In the past, the television board has focused on rating programs in terms of obscene, violent or sexual material.

“To the detriment of children, gender dysphoria has become sensationalized in the popular media and television with radical activists and entertainment companies. This radical and sexual sensation not only harms children, but also destabilizes and damages parental rights,” the senators’ letter said.

The American Psychological Association reported some people who are transgender experience gender dysphoria, a form of psychological distress about the difference between an individual’s gender assignment at birth and an individual’s gender identity. The condition must be associated with clinically significant social, occupational or other impairment to meet criteria for the diagnosis.

Marshall’s letter continued: “The motivations of hyper-sexualized entertainment producers striving to push this content on young audiences are suspect at best and predatory at worst.”

The letter signed by Marshall also said parents across the United States should outraged that educators wade into sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.

In 1997, most broadcast and cable networks implemented the board’s television content rating system in response to public concern about explicit sexual content, graphic violence and profanity on screen.

The Kansas Legislature and Gov. Laura Kelly tangled over a bill last month that would have banned transgender girls or women from participating in school or college sports programs in Kansas.

The Democratic governor vetoed the bill, but the House failed to gain the two-thirds majority necessary to override her decision. The Senate had the votes for an override.

GOP legislators in the House and Senate said transgender athletes would have an unfair advantage if involved in sports competitions for girls or women. Rep. Barbara Wasinger, a Hays Republican, said identifying as transgender was evidence of a mental health problem among “people that are confused.”

Opponents of the bill said the prohibition was part of a political campaign to shame people and undermine transgender Kansans’ identities.

“If you disapprove of who I am or who a young trans person is, take that up with our creator,” said Rep. Brandon Woodard, a Lenexa Democrat and one of four LGBTQ legislators in Kansas.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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