Transgender Youth At Risk As Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Gender-Affirming Care
In Texas, the parents of transgender children have been forced to face legislation as the state has now moved forward with preventing transgender youth from receiving life-saving gender-affirming care.
Last year, Texas lawmakers proposed legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for Texans under the age of 18, including surgeries, hormone therapy, and puberty blockers. As of May 15, this legislation, called Senate Bill 14 and HB 1686, has passed, putting any physician within the state who provides this care at risk of losing their license.
This move has been met with anger, sadness, and fear among the LGBTQ+ community, their families, and the Democratic senators who sought to prevent it from being passed. Still, many Republican lawmakers have expressed their satisfaction with the decision.
“Thank you, Chairman Hughes, for your leadership and support in helping pass #SB14!,” says Texas Republican Senator Donna Campbell, who in March said that this bill is about “protecting children.”
There is about 140 anti-LGBTQ+ legislature that is under consideration in Texas this session, 10 of which Chairman Campbell has sponsored herself.
When speaking to the Texas House on May 12, Republican Senator and coauthor of the SB 14 Bill Tom Oliverson, referred to gender dysphoria as “a mental health disorder” and asserted that, with time, children experiencing gender dysphoria will come to accept their body as is.
Despite such sentiments, according to major medical associations including the American Psychological Association, gender-affirming care has long been confirmed as an important component in creating a healthy environment for transgender and gender-nonconforming youth.
While many parents have attempted to block anti-LGBTQ+ measurements in the past, in 2022, it was reported that these families were targeted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective South on a directive from Governor Greg Abbott.
With such targets, LGBTQ+ youths and adults alike have expressed fear of what’s to come and what the implications of HB 14 and HB 1686 are. Senator Oliverson has authored another bill that will permit medical providers to decline the treatment of any patient for any religious, moral, or philosophical reasons. While this bill does not explicitly address the LGBTQ+ community, it would allow them to be denied care based on their identity if passed.
These recent changes in legislation are a surprising shift from last November when Texans elected the first openly gay and Black male representatives, which many viewed as a sign of progress in the right-leaning state. Democrats Christian Manuel Hayes and Venton Jones, both of whom were sworn in this January. Hayes currently represents House District 22 of Beaumont while Jones represents House District 100 in Dallas. They joined Democratic Representative and Harris County native Jolanda Jones was the first openly gay Black candidate to be elected to the legislature after a special election in May.
The futures of many transgender youth in the state are at risk, especially Black youths given the state’s already racially disproportionate medical treatment. More parents are continuing the fight to pursue safety for their children in the face of prosecution.