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Hundreds support Planned Parenthood’s Rainbow Room, LGBTQ+ youth


Proponents call it “gender-affirming care.” Critics call it “child abuse.”

Either way, “Billboard Chris” opposes it and, when word spread that he was bringing his message to Doylestown July 12, supporters of LGBTQ+ youth quickly rallied in a show of solidarity and support.

Approximately 200 people filled the grounds of Salem United Church of Christ on East Court Street, as “Billboard Chris” Elston and three of his fellow protesters walked along the sidewalk carrying professionally made signs reading “Children cannot consent to puberty blockers” and “Mom — a human female who protects her kids from gender ideology.”

As the Canadian activist repeatedly attempted to engage those holding rainbow flags and signs saying “Love Thy Neighbor,” his remarks were generally ignored. When he loudly asked, “Can anyone tell me why we should be cutting off the body parts of children?” he was met with silence.

Throughout his more than hour-long appearance, Elston carried a selfie stick with a phone attached and recorded the interactions.

Planned Parenthood’s Rainbow Room was selected as the site for the traveling protester because it provides a space for meetings and activities for LGBTQ+ youth, age 14 to 21. It was founded 20 years ago and recently opened a second location in Langhorne.

“It’s really, really heartwarming,” said Adam Gilbert-Cole, president of the church’s foundation and a church member, referring to the large crowd of LGBTQ+ allies. “It really blew up more than we expected.”

Bob Anderson, a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Yardley, said it was important to attend to demonstrate community support.

“People are often marginalized and harassed,” he said. Everyone is created equal, he said, adding, “The best comment is a peaceful, loving presence.”

Asked to comment on his visit to Doylestown, Elston said, “There’s no such thing as a transgender child.…transition is something you do, not something you are. Puberty blockers, surgeries, and cross-sex hormones are the largest child abuse scandal in modern medical history.”

“The cure for gender dysphoria (distress stemming from incongruence between sex at birth and gender identity) is puberty itself,” said Elston. “Now, we block the cure.”

Barbara Simmons, the retired executive director of The Peace Center who now volunteers with the Rainbow Room, attended the event.

“I’m extremely disappointed that somehow they think the Rainbow Room indoctrinates children when all have their parents’ support,” she said. “I think they are completely misinformed...We model peace.”

While officers from the Central Bucks Regional Police Department were on hand, the event remained orderly.

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