A recent spate of legislation such as South Dakota's HB 1057, known as the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, seeks to criminalize medical treatment for gender transition in minors under sixteen. This essay argues that these laws do not safeguard children's health but are part of a broader attack on transgender rights that uses the protection of children as a powerful pretense to scapegoat a minority. It suggests that the analyses and insights of the field of transgender studies could inform, enrich, and reconfigure current clinical and public-policy debates around gender-variant children. This essay also aims at drawing the attention of supporters of transgender children to aspects of current medical treatments and their potential implications for young people that might get lost in this explosive political climate.

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