Grooming Runaways with Taxpayer Dollars?

AP Photo/Marina Villeneuve

“Read the bill!” Such has been a grassroots rallying cry. Far too often, legislators vote how they are told, trusting staffers, lobbyists, and allies that a bill does what they say it does.

But reading bills isn’t as easy as you might think. Statutory language is not always discernable at a glance. To understand what a bill truly does, you have to reference chapter citations in law, consider definitions, and understand how the language interacts with existing laws and other pending bills in various jurisdictions.

Crafty politicos can use this to their advantage, creating a fog of war that obscures their true intentions. We have seen several examples in Minnesota coming out of last year’s legislative session – a change to use of force standards for school resource officers smuggled into an education omnibus bill, the subtle nullification of the First Amendment via the removal of “gender identity” from the religious exemption in our Human Rights Act, the effective expansion of the “sexual orientation” protected class to include pedophilia (yes, really). If you’re not paying rapt attention to every jot and tittle of language in every single bill, much will slip past the goalie.

Watching the process during my first term as a state representative, I have learned the value of combing through bills with such subterfuge in mind. “Never take their presentation for granted” has become a legislative axiom, operating in the minority under a Democrat trifecta (they have the governor and both legislative chambers).

It is with that in mind that my radar perked up during a recent meeting of the House Children and Families committee, where USA Today’s 2023 “Woman of the Year” – transexual Representative Leigh Finke – presented HF 5036, “a bill for an act relating to human services; appropriating money for a needs analysis for emergency shelter for LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness.” That may sound benign on its face. But, when you stop to think about it, some questions are raised.

Why do we need an “emergency shelter” specifically for “LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness?” Don’t we have emergency shelters accessible to all homeless people? Why would we specifically focus on the self-described “queer?” And why would we specifically focus on the youth within that sliver of the community?

Consider the reasons offered by the author. Finke argues that LGBT youth (let’s drop a few letters for simplicity’s sake) make up a disproportionate amount of the homelessness community, and therefore deserve unique attention. From the representative’s bill presentation in committee:

The need for it is urgent. And that urgency results from a compounding series of factors that are at play in Minnesota. The first is that trans, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming people experience homelessness at rates significantly higher than other demographics. Data shows that anywhere from 35-50% of trans people will experience housing instability or homelessness during their lives.

Taken at face value, that is surely an alarming statistic. But it raises an interesting question, specifically in the context of a bill aimed squarely at “youth.” Why are so-called trans people experiencing homelessness? Finke tells us:

The reasons for that are many, housing and employment discrimination, and family rejection at the top of the list… (emphasis added)

Again, this is in the context of targeting a policy at youth, which obviously includes minor children. So, ask yourself: what are the circumstances where a minor child finds their self homeless due to “family rejection?”

There seem to be only two possibilities. Either parents have kicked their minor children out of their home without making any arrangement for their care (which would be criminal child neglect and cause for intervention by child protective services, which would not reasonably result in long-term homelessness), or we’re talking about runaways.

Let’s assume the latter. We’re talking about runaways who have left their family because their gender identity claims have not been “affirmed.” If that’s the case, what obligation does the state have to such minor children? Finke’s answer is that they should be funneled to an “emergency shelter,” not reunited with their parents or legal guardians.

The gravity of that cannot be overemphasized, especially in a context where recent changes in state law, largely led by Representative Finke, have effectively legalized human trafficking. Finke brags about this:

The second factor is that queer people are moving to Minnesota. Minnesota is an island of protection for queer people in the Upper Midwest and Plains states.

That was the intention of Finke’s so-called “trans refuge” bill signed into law last year, which cancels the custodial rights of a parent of children seeking “gender-affirming care” in Minnesota. The child doesn’t have to be accompanied by their parent. The parent doesn’t have to be notified that their child is here or seeking such “care.” From the parent’s perspective, their child could simply disappear off the face of the earth and never be seen or heard from again despite engaging with public services in our state. In Minnesota, we will take your kid, poison, and disfigure them, and never even bother to tell you about it.

When you piece all of this together, it paints an alarming picture. We are a “trans refuge state” that is targeting “homeless LGBT youth” for “emergency shelter” after passing a law that doesn’t require parental notification or consent for “gender-affirming care.” And we’re doing so for a “top of the list” reason that so-called “trans kids” experience “family rejection” and become runaways.

By the way, our laws do nothing to detect, screen, or prevent grooming of such youth by adults. So, you could have a grown man chatting up a 13-year-old on social media who convinces that child to runaway from home and meet them in Minnesota, and there would be nothing anyone could legally do about it so long as it occurred under the auspices of “gender-affirming care.”

This is where we’re at in the state of Minnesota. And it’s not just our problem. If you’re a parent anywhere in the United States, it affects you too. Predators are being enabled to take your children from you, and we are using taxpayer-dollars to fund it. 

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