Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said Sunday that the cultural movement of transgender ideology in the U.S. “is creating more gender dysphoria” and “confusion” among young people.
“I think that when a kid says that I’m born into the wrong body, that my gender doesn’t match my biological sex, more often than not that is a case of a mental health disorder,” Ramaswamy said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Anchor Chuck Todd asked Ramaswamy whether he had ever talked to parents of transgender children to try to understand their perspective.
“I have, actually,” Ramaswamy said. “It’s a difficult place to be, I acknowledge that. But what we need to do on both sides here is act with compassion, not really what makes us feel good about ourselves.”
Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to guests at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kick-Off on April 22, 2023, in Clive, Iowa. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)
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“We’ve created a culture that teaches parents that they’re being bigoted or that they’re bad people if they don’t actually take those steps,” he said. “So, part of what I think is, listen, gender dysphoria for the rare few people who have suffered, it is a condition of suffering. My question is: Why on Earth are we going out of our way to create even more of it? And there’s no doubt that the cultural movement in this country, even education, is creating more gender dysphoria. If it’s a condition of suffering, let’s not create more of it. That’s what we’re doing.”
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to guests at the 2023 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis. (Jeremy Hogan / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images / File)
Todd asked the Republican candidate whether laws limiting a parent’s ability to get sex-reassignment surgery for their child contradicts the conservative ideal of limiting government overreach.
“There isn’t a state in this union that allows you to smoke an addictive cigarette before the age of 18, that allows you to get a tattoo before the age of 18 – that’s a body-altering change that a kid may later regret in life,” Ramaswamy said. “So, I think it is perfectly reasonable to say that if you’re after 18 years old, you’re free to decide whatever you want to do. That’s what it means to live in a free country. But below the age of 18, I think it’s perfectly legitimate to say that we won’t allow genital mutilation or chemical castration through puberty blockers.”
Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to the Merrimack County Republicans at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 13, 2023. (Paul Steinhauser)
Todd asked, “Are you confident that you know that gender is as binary as you’re describing it, or are you confident that it isn’t a spectrum?”
“I am,” Ramaswamy replied.
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“Gender dysphoria for most of our history all the way through the DSM-5 has been characterized as a mental health disorder,” he said, referring to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which was published in 2013. “I don’t think it’s compassionate to affirm that. I think that’s cruelty when a kid is crying out for help. What they’re asking for is you’ve got to ask the question of what else is going wrong at home, what else is going wrong at school? Let’s be compassionate and get to the heart of that rather than playing this game as though we’re actually changing our medical understanding for the last 100 years.”
Ramaswamy, 37, a multimillionaire health care and tech sector entrepreneur, is the author of “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam” and is currently a long-shot candidate in the Republican primary.