Hawaii Legislators Push Sex Change for Autistic Children

by Andrew Walden

Autistic children are in the DoE’s budget crosshairs again.

Millions of dollars from the DoE budget are on the line if HB664 or SB674  “Relating to Gender Identity” becomes law. 

The bills would prohibit “any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity” except the definition in SB674 of “‘gender identity change efforts’ shall not include counseling supporting a person seeking to transition from one gender identity to another.”  The bills apply only to therapy on “a person under eighteen years of age.”   

What does this have to do with the DoE budget?  The key is special education, specifically autism. 

Several studies show that transgenders are as much as 85 times more likely to be autistic than the general population:  

2018 report in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders cites several studies and explains: “Transgender people assigned female were more likely to have clinically significant autistic traits compared to any other group.” 

2012 study cited by the authors shows “Nearly 30% of transgender men… fell within the autistic phenotype….” 

2014 study shows: “7.1% percent of transgender men had Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scores that might indicate the presence of a clinical diagnosis of AutismSpectrum Condition (ASC) compared to only 1% in cisgender women, although this difference was not significant. For transgender females and cisgender males the rate was 4.7 and 3.9% respectively.” 

2016 study of self-identified transgenders shows: “Nearly 40% of the sample scored above the AQ-10 cut-off, indicating risk for possible clinical ASC and 14% self-reported a clinical diagnosis of ASC (17% for assigned females at birth and 10% for assigned males at birth). These values are considerably higher than the prevalence of ASC in the general population, which is estimated at 1.5% for men and 0.2% for women.”  (Note: 0.2% x 85 = 17%)

SB674 requires: “Any person who is licensed to provide professional counseling who engages in or attempts to engage in the offering of sexual orientation change efforts or gender identity change efforts on a person under eighteen years of age shall be subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate professional licensing authority.”  In other words—the therapist could lose his or her license. 

The Hawaii DoE spent millions of taxpayer dollars to pay lawyers to fight the parents of autistic children demanding their rights under the Felix Consent Decree.  Finally a 2015 Federal Court order in DOE v. Loveland Academy held that Hawaii Act 129 of 2011 is overruled by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  This obligates the DoE to spend millions of dollars to provide autistic students with special education private schools such as Loveland because the DoE is incapable of providing the necessary level of treatment.

According to Rep Sylvia Luke, quoted in the Star-Advertiser, August 19, 2018, the DoE has been missing out on $50M to $100M annually for years.  The DoE is budgeting $367M for SPED for FY2018.  A list of annual Medicaid reimbursements to the DoE 2008 to 2018 shows none of them exceed $1M.

Medicaid funding is available to reimburse Special Education expenses—but only when “performed by a licensed provider.”  Hawaii’s very limited pool of state-employed ‘Licensed providers’ are represented by the HGEA, not HSTA and are mostly employed by the state DHS or DoH, not DoE.  Others are employed in the private sector.

Will millions of SPED budget dollars shift from DoE to DHS and DoH?

If HB664 or SB674 becomes law, those “licensed providers” will be exclusively made up of individuals ready and willing to push a sex-change on your child.  All others will gradually be stripped of their licenses. 

Parents will be less likely to seek treatment from a DoH or DHS ‘licensed provider’ with a sex-change agenda — so they will be more likely to stay with substandard treatment from the unlicensed providers in the DoE.

As amended, two bills now have slightly different wording which is a standard legislative maneuver to force them into a secretive conference committee.

Both bills are set for a crossover vote Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

HB664: Text, Status

SB674: Text, Status


EDITORS NOTE: This Hawaii Free Press column is republished with permission. The featured image of an autistic child is by Wikimedia Commons.

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