Texas Directive Against Trans Youth Temporarily Blocked

Tara Djordjevic, Staff Writer

   Texas Governor Greg Abbott instructed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents providing gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors for “child abuse” in a letter written on Tuesday, February 22.

   In the letter, Abbott said, “Because the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is responsible for protecting children from abuse, I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas” (gov.texas.gov).

   Abbott added that according to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) Opinion No. KP-0401, “It is illegal to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen” (gov.texas.gov).

   “Texas law also imposes a duty on DFPS to investigate the parents of a child who is subjected to these abusive gender-transitioning procedures, and on other state agencies to investigate licensed facilities where such procedures may occur,” said Abbott (gov.texas.gov).

   A reporter for The New York Times said, “Whether children will be taken from their parents for allowing them to receive such medical care will ultimately be at the discretion of the courts” (nytimes.com).

   Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal have taken legal action against the Governor. Reporter Zoe Christen Jones, from CBS News, said, “The lawsuit argues the order violates the constitutional rights of transgender children and their families” (cbs.com).

   According to National Public Radio (NPR), District Judge Amy Clark Meachum temporarily blocked the proposed directive on March 11. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will take the battle to the Texas Supreme Court (npr.org).

  Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) President Sophomore Clay Shaughnessy said, “From my understanding, the bill is making it illegal for transgender minors to access hormone therapy and to medically transition. If their parents try to get it for them, then their parents can get arrested and their children can be taken away from them for ‘child abuse.’ Honestly, that’s horrifying and disgusting.”

   Shaughnessy connected the current letter to previous bills targeting trans youth, “With all of these bills that have been passed in the past, it’s just horrifying that they are always attacking the youth trans community when they are children and can’t do anything about it. It’s always attacking the community about hormone therapy because hormone blockers only work up to the age of puberty. Medically transitioning is often for the youth and it’s just absolutely disgusting that people keep [trying to restrict minors from receiving gender-affirming care],” Shaughnessy said.

   For any students interested in discourse surrounding the letter or looking for a place to project their voice, GSA meets every Thursday at lunch outside of room 214, and it is a completely safe space on campus. “Anyone can come anytime and talk to me about anything that they are dealing with as well. I am all ears,” Shaughnessy said.