The nation’s second-largest state, home to thousands of transgender youth, is likely to force trans youth out of transition and bar minors from accessing gender transition healthcare.
Legislation in Texas that will bar doctors from providing affirmative care to transgender children heads to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk after the bill’s final passage in the state Senate on May 17.
Home to an estimated 30,000 trans teens between the ages of 13 and 17, Texas is likely to join at least 18 other states that have enacted laws or policies prohibiting gender-affirming care for trans youth, and several others have considered taking similar action against what advocates and major medical groups have called medically necessary and potentially lifesaving care.
A coalition of LGBT+ advocates and civil rights groups have vowed to sue Texas to block the ban, if it becomes law, immediately after the state’s widely derided attempt in 2022 to classify such care as child abuse.
“We will file a lawsuit to protect transgender youth in Texas from being deprived of access to health care that keeps them healthy and alive,” according to a statement from Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Union of Texas Civil Liberties, and the Transgender Law Center.
The state’s attempts to investigate families with transgender children have been blocked in court, but “Texas lawmakers have seen fit to redouble their efforts, causing untold harm to Texas families,” according to the groups that pledged to investigate. sue the state.
“They are determined to join the growing list of states determined to endanger the health and lives of transgender youth, in direct opposition to the overwhelming body of scientific and medical evidence that supports this care as appropriate and necessary,” they added. “We will defend the rights of transgender youth in court, just as we have done in other states that engage in this discriminatory and anti-scientific scaremongering.”
Texas Senate Bill 14 prohibits doctors from providing what is the only evidence-based care for gender dysphoria for trans people under the age of 18 and would strip them of their medical licenses if they practice in violation of the law.
Under the bill, trans youth currently receiving such care must “stop using” any drugs they are taking and will not be legally allowed to start any new course of treatment.
Major health groups oppose such bans, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Most of the treatments that make up gender-affirming care regimens, which are also regularly prescribed to cisgender people, include hormone replacement therapies and puberty blockers. Affirmation surgeries among trans youth are extremely rare.
“I am stunned by the cruelty and moral hypocrisy of this bill,” said Marti Bier, vice president of programs for the Texas Freedom Network, in a statement after the initial House vote.
“Members of our state legislature are determined to insert themselves into the private health decisions that are made between loving and affirming families and their trusted medical providers,” they added.
After joining Republican lawmakers To support Texas’ ban on gender-affirming care, Democratic state Rep. Shawn Thierry, one of three Texas House Democrats who also joined Republican lawmakers, is facing formal censorship from a Democratic group in his district. She was also among a dozen Democratic lawmakers who voted in favor of a book ban bill that is likely to target materials written by and about LGBT+ people.
Hundreds of bills targeting LGBT+ people, particularly trans youth, have been introduced in nearly every state in recent years, part of a growing campaign among Republican lawmakers who are anti-trans bashing for the political agendas that dominate the Republican platforms for 2024.
The legislation threatens age-appropriate, medically necessary and potentially vital care for more than half of all trans youth in the US between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
That spate of legislation and the volatile political debate surrounding the bills have also had a negative impact on the mental health of an overwhelming majority of trans and non-binary youth, according to a survey by The Trevor Project and Morning Consult.
A separate survey by The Trevor Project found that 41 percent of trans and non-binary youth have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
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