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Professor: Mike Pence’s opposition to ‘gender-affirming’ care for minors is ‘appalling’

But opinion polls back the former vice president

A professor of social work at Grand View University called former Vice President Mike Pence’s opposition to “gender-affirming” care for minors “appalling” at a town hall discussion last week.

Pence reiterated his position on the issue at the September 13 event in Chicago, moderated by the “engaging and unbiased” NewsNation. He said no one under age 18 should be able to get such “care.”

“The idea that we are telling young, impressionable kids that little boys can become girls or little girls can become boys, I just think is wrong,” Pence said.

Earlier this year, Pence indicated he’d support a national ban on such pre-age 18 “care,” saying “If there was a move in the Congress to protect children from this radical gender ideology and to ban chemical or surgical transition treatment for kids under the age of 18, you bet I would support it.”

Pence’s town hall response came during an “emotional exchange” with Professor of Social Work Melissa McCollister (pictured), a self-described “LGBTQ member.”

“I hope you also hear my heart on this for me,” Pence said to McCollister. “What adults do in their lives, decisions that they make, including transgender adults is one thing. But for kids under the age of 18 … there’s a reason why we don’t let you drive until you’re 16.

“In the state of Indiana, you can’t get a tattoo until after you’re 18. You can’t drink until after you’re 21. That’s because we understand that kids don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions.”

MORE: Professor: Trans kids who ID as ‘Minotaurs’ merely part of ‘gender revolution’

McCollister wasn’t impressed.

“I have worked with kids as young as 5 years old that have gender-nonconforming and identities that are transgender. And I’ve raised one. To hear somebody tell me that it’s not OK for young children to make decisions about their gender identity and to ask their school officials for support, protection and help is appalling,” she said.

The “unbiased” NewsNation twice supported McCollister; one of its contributors claimed Pence is hypocritical about “freedom” as he’s against COVID vaccine mandates “but on abortion and on LBGTQ rights […] he would be the person to best make that decision.”

It also cited a Tampa Bay Times report allegedly refuting Pence’s claim about minors and tattoos: “Tattoos are an aesthetic choice, while most medical organizations consider gender-affirming care medically necessary and even lifesaving.”

What NewsNation doesn’t mention is that the professor clearly is in the minority on the issue. A Washington Post-KFF poll from May shows two-thirds of Americans oppose such “care” for minors (or, as the Post puts it, “most support anti-trans policies favored by GOP”). Even polls that utilize clever wording show the same.

According to her Linkedin page, McCollister previously taught at Indiana State University and the University of Akron. She says her “passion drives [her] to inspire students in becoming racial and social justice leaders that will influence the future of our social policy towards a more justice and love oriented society.”

MORE: ‘Gender-affirming’ treatment for confused children has no scientific basis, medical experts warn court

IMAGES: Jennifer/X; TEDx Indiana State University Women/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.