ANNAPOLIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - The state of Maryland is forcing potential foster parents to accommodate children who believe themselves to be gay, bisexual or transgender.
A mandate issued earlier this month by the state's Department of Human Resources is demanding foster parents permit children placed in their care to openly express themselves according to their assumed gender or sexual orientation, with the policy specifically noting transgender children must be allowed to dress as the opposite gender and be referred to by the pronouns of their choosing.
Additional clauses prohibit parents from placing foster children in any sort of conversion therapy program and guarantee transgender children will not be placed in all-girls or all-boys homes, according to their perceived gender.
"When they come into foster care, they shouldn't continue to feel that neglect or that rejection because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity," remarks Ann Maria Binsner, executive director of a Maryland county organization that specializes in foster children advocacy. "We should be the ones protecting them from that."
As part of the recent state push, Maryland and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have formed a coalition in order to train state social workers in the technique of identifying anti-LGBT sentiment in potential foster parents and on how to normalize perceived gay or transgender behavior in children.
"It comes down to education and talking to folks about what acceptance looks like," contends Alison Delpercio with the Children, Youth and Families program, a sub-department of the HRC. "When you talk to parents about that and help them understand even if they have the best interest of children in mind, expressing disgust or disapproval for a young person's LGBTQ identity is harmful."
The Maryland guidelines mirror those currently in place in 21 states, 14 of which include protections for transgender children. Three states — California, New Mexico and Illinois — require foster parents to undergo LGBT training.
State officials maintain they have not received any criticism from foster care organizations, including with religious affiliations.
The push from Maryland comes as a nationwide debate ensues over transgender "rights," with multiple school districts across the country scrambling as the new school year begins to receive federal court approval to forbid trasngender students from using the bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite gender. Additionally, multiple states, health care providers, state governors and pro-family organizations are currently engaged in court battles against the Obama administration over its mandate issued in May demanding public schools accommodate transgender children or potentially face a loss of federal funding.
The push for transgender acceptance and accommodation continues, however, despite testimony from leading psychiatrists and medical professionals maintaining that the coddling of children who believe themselves to be the opposite gender does "a great deal of damage" to their development.
Doctor Paul R. McHugh, former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital and distinguished service professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, lambasts the push for normalizing transgender behavior as "collaborating with madness."
"We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia," McHugh maintains, referring to the movement to ease access to sex reassignment surgery, particularly for children.
McHugh explains he has observed with the psychiatry community a "deep prejudice in favor of the idea that nature is totally malleable." This movement, the doctor concludes, comes despite "little evidence" provided by gender identity activists to refute scientific arguments concluding transgenderism to be a psychological disorder.
Likewise, the Catholic Church has clearly maintained Her position against the push for gender identity rights, with Pope Benedict XVI declaring in 2012, "The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious." Likewise, Pope Francis has denounced transgender ideology, decrying the "ideological colonization" being forced on children.