On Februrary 2022, Texas began accusing families of transgender children of child abuse, with other states following suit.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to state health officials stating that providing gender-affirming medical procedures to transgender children is child abuse under state law.
Under the law, doctors, nurses, and educators are now required to report parents who assist their children in seeking transgender healthcare to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
According to The Washington Post, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas to stop the law from going into effect. A Texas judge has temporarily stopped enforcement.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has also released a statement stating that denial of health care to transgender kids is discriminatory and prohibited under federal law as it violates Section 1557 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
Abbott’s orders contribute to a long history of conservatives aggressively targeting LGBTQ+ kids for state surveillance and denial over the last decade.
Families with trans children are likely to be targeted for criminal intervention and separation, harming already vulnerable children.
The legal motion also violates the American Medical Association’s rule that politicians should never interfere with private healthcare decisions made to nurture the child’s short-term and long-term growth, while balancing the need to protect the child’s ability to make crucial life decisions on their own in the future.
This recent law shows how the Texas Legislature is increasingly politicizing medical decisions to achieve state control over sexuality and gender.
Not only is Texas actively investigating trans families, but they have also removed resources for LGBTQ+ youths from its suicide prevention website.
According to the Washington Post, research reveals that gender-affirming care and family support can help trans children avoid suicidal ideation. While trans children have greater rates of depression and suicidal tendencies than their cisgender counterparts, research shows that when trans youths have supportive networks, their depression rates decrease. It is against medical science to deny trans children access to life-saving medical care.
This new law, which is sweeping Texas and other states considering similar legislation, will have a significant impact on trans people, particularly trans youth, by pushing them to come out and potentially exposing themselves to harm.