Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, is about to make life for trans youth so much more difficult (as if they don’t face enough challenge already). The politician sent a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services this week, calling for investigations into any minors undergoing “elective procedures for gender transitioning.”
He directed “licensed professionals” and “members of the general public” to report any parents of kids who are currently going through a transition. Abbott added that state law “provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse.”
This harmful order was swiftly slammed by the ACLU of Texas.
“The law is clear that parents, guardians, and doctors can provide transgender youth with treatment in accordance with prevailing standards of care,” Brian Klosterboer, a staff ACLU attorney, said in a statement. “Any parent or guardian who loves and supports their child and is taking them to a licensed health care provider is not engaging in child abuse.”
Trans youth are loved.
Trans youth are beautiful.
Trans youth belong.
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 24, 2022
Abbott is hopping on a dangerous trend of political figures inserting themselves into the private healthcare choices of families. On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion piece condemning gender transitioning and puberty blockers for children.
“There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” he said. “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”
So, what’s next? We still don’t know if Abbott has the ability to actually force the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate any claims. We do know that this order could have awful consequences on trans youth who, according to data from The Trevor Project, already report significantly more depression, suicidality, and victimization than their cis peers. “[I]n the past year, one in three transgender youth reported attempting suicide, almost one-third reported being a victim of sexual violence, and more than half reported a two-week period of depression,” says the research brief.
If you live in Texas and want to speak out against Abbott’s order, you can reach out to the governor’s office here.