Vivek Ramaswamy describes being transgender as a ‘mental health disorder’

Republican presidential candidate hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy wears a white shit, red tie and blue jacket as he speaks to reporters. The White House hopeful has used his platform to speak out against the LGBTQ+ and trans community in his campaign

US presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has caused uproar among the public after describing being transgender as a “mental health disorder.”

The comment, which came during Wednesday night’s (27 September) second GOP debate, completely disregards official guidance from all major medical and mental health associations.

As transphobic rhetoric continues to sweep across the United States, it was likely that the topic of LGBTQ+ rights was going to crop up at some point during the presidential election run, but those tuned into the debate were disgusted to hear the Republican candidate’s views.

Candidates were asked their opinions on the contentious parental rights debate, which has seen a growing number of school districts debate whether to introduce policies that would inform parents if a student goes by a gender identity that doesn’t match the gender on their birth certificate.

When it came Ramaswamy’s turn to speak, he said: “Transgenderism, especially in kids, is a mental health disorder… It is not compassionate to affirm a kid’s confusion. That is not compassion, that is cruelty.”

This comment directly contradicts guidance from the American Psychiatric Association which says diverse gender expressions “are not indications of a mental disorder.”

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The Republican candidate also made baseless claims that a lack of a parental notification policy in schools would increase the risk of suicide among young people.

LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have warned that introducing parental notification policies would be more likely to put young people at risk, particularly if their parents are not supportive of their wishes to transition.

Ramaswamy then claimed to have spoken with two young women who said they regretted undergoing gender-affirming surgeries and promised the “ban genital mutilation and chemical castration.”

In fact, it is incredibly rare for gender-affirming surgeries, when made available to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, to result in feelings of regret.

According to a 2021 review of 27 studies involving almost 8,000 teenagers and adults across Europe, the US, and Canada who had gender-affirming surgeries found that an average of just one per cent expressed regret.

Those tuned in to the debate were devastated to see baseless anti-trans rhetoric being spread on such a public platform and took to X (formerly Twitter) to condemn Ramaswamy and other candidates who expressed similar beliefs.

“We will stand up for trans people every day,” commented one viewer. “Absolutely disgusting to hear Vivek Ramaswamy call it a mental health disorder.”

Another viewer wrote: “I feel for the transgender children in America who have to listen to Vivek Ramaswamy and the Republican presidential candidates telling them they have a ‘mental disorder’ and don’t know the first thing about their lives.”