Respect Equality

Rep. Boebert says children should wait until 21 to make ‘life-altering’ decisions about gender and sexuality

“Why is it so unreasonable to require people to reach a certain level of maturity before making life-altering decisions about their sexuality and identity?” Boebert tweeted Friday.
(Roberto Schmidt/Associated Press)

Story at a glance

  • Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Friday said minors should be expected to reach a certain age or maturity level before making decisions about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Boebert’s statement mirrors that of other conservative lawmakers who have suggested that such topics are not appropriate for children.

  • A slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, and some have already been signed into law.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R) on Friday suggested young people be “required” to reach a certain age or level of maturity before making serious decisions about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We require people to be 21 to purchase alcohol beverages, and 21 to purchase tobacco products,” the congresswoman from Colorado wrote on Twitter. “Why is it so unreasonable to require people to reach a certain level of maturity before making life-altering decisions about their sexuality and identity?”

Boebert’s question echoes arguments made by other conservative lawmakers in seeking to restrict access to things like gender affirming care for transgender and nonbinary minors, which has been hotly debated in state legislatures across the country.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) last week signed into law a bill restricting access to gender-affirming surgeries for state residents under the age of 18, writing in a signing letter that the law distinguishes “between an adult and child.”


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“Throughout law, children are protected from making irreversible decisions, including buying certain products or participating in activities that can have lifelong health implications,” the governor wrote.

In February, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered state agencies to open child abuse investigations into parents who have allowed their trans and nonbinary children to receive gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapies, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said amounted to “abuse” under his interpretation of state law.

Those investigations have since been halted following a statewide injunction from a Texas judge, though Paxton has filed to appeal that decision.

Legislators have also recently sought to limit conversations about both gender identity and sexual orientation in places like schools, arguing that such topics are too mature or inappropriate for children.

North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) on the House floor on Monday said Democrats had declared a “war on biology” in supporting the rights of transgender Americans, adding that the party’s “left-wing movement is forcing children to endure radical expressions of sexuality.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week signed into law a bill — known to its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — which beginning in July will prohibit public primary school teachers from engaging in instruction related to gender identity or sexuality orientation. Florida teachers of all grade levels will also be barred from discussing those topics in a manner that is not “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate” for their students.

According to a tally by the Human Rights Campaign, more than 320 bills targeting LGBTQ+ people are under consideration in state legislatures across the country.