Many were encouraged to hear that South Dakota was the only state in which rates of gender dysphoria in children fell, while other states have experienced increases of 250% or more, but unfortunately the data isn’t painting a full picture.

Although we’re thankful recent legislation has been effective in outlawing “gender affirming care” experimentation on children, we know that statistics based on medical claims in our state only scratch the surface of the underlying problem.

The reality is individuals are transporting children across state lines so they can undergo these horrific procedures and obtain treatment in states that still allow it. There are even groups making funds available to cover the cost of travel. Similar to the wave of “abortion tourism” we saw after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we are now seeing “gender-affirming medical tourism” for adults and children alike.

Although the drop in “cases” in SD is a good sign, we shouldn’t assume that this ideology has lost its grip on our children. If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that the overwhelming surge in LGBT-affiliated individuals is not a matter of them being “born this way,” but a matter of social contagion. Through social media, parental influence, school curriculum, and many other social outlets, children are being indoctrinated to think gender is fluid, heterosexuality is just an option to consider, and exploring these concepts is not only beneficial but necessary. It is unnatural and inexplicable for some states to have witnessed gender confusion growth rates of over 100% and up to 274% in only five years, aside from the clear answer that this is a social problem, not a medical one.

“I’ve always observed that the increase in gender dysphoria cases isn’t a natural phenomenon, it’s a social phenomenon,” Rep Daniel Crenshaw noted. “It has become a bandwagon to jump on and a diagnostic catch-all for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. This isn’t to say some people don’t actually have it, but it would be much rarer if it weren’t such a popular label for progressives to seek out and slap on any vulnerable patient.”

It is unthinkable that we are allowing children caught up in a social trend to permanently alter their bodies through elective double mastectomies, gender reassignment surgery that will render them infertile, and heavy doses of hormones that can lead to cancer, strokes, and other life-threatening conditions. It’s time to put a stop to “gender affirming care” treatments for children, not just in South Dakota, but across the US. It’s time to boldly speak truth to children, and offer true help instead of permanent harm.