It would have a huge impact on kids and families.
Life is already difficult for trans kids in Texas, but with so many anti-trans laws constantly being introduced in the state, there’s always the potential for it to get a lot harder. Most recently, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an official legal opinion directing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to classify medical treatments for trans children as child abuse — and potentially, to begin prosecuting their parents as abusers. With this law (and possibly many more in the future) putting trans kids and their families at risk, here are 10 ways to support trans youth in Texas right now.
Abbott issued the official announcement to Commissioner Jaime Masters on Feb. 22, citing OAG Opinion No. KP-0401. “The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has now confirmed in the enclosed opinion that a number of so-called ‘sex-change’ procedures constitute child abuse under existing Texas law.” He specifies that, according to the OAG opinion, it is illegal for parents to allow their trans kids to obtain medical procedures and treatments to combat gender dysphoria, such as puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Per The New York Times, it’s unclear how the OAG opinion would be enforced, and authorities in different parts of the state are sending mixed messages on whether or not they would prosecute parents of trans children. Still, the effect of the directive is chilling: Parents in violation of the OAG opinion could be charged with child abuse, a state felony punishable with years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Furthermore, the Texas governor has also imposed reporting requirements “upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children,” meaning doctors, nurses, and teachers must report trans children and their parents to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services — or face criminal penalties themselves.
“This is horrific,” said Human Rights Campaign president, Joni Madison, in a Feb. 23 tweet. “Gender-affirming care can be lifesaving for transgender youth. This discriminatory, dangerous [and] divisive action will have real-life consequences for trans kids & their families in Texas,” she adds. “Now more than ever, we have to #ProtectTransKids #txlege.” By providing financial assistance, spreading awareness through social media platforms, or even just donating your time to grassroots community organizations, you can help trans kids survive and thrive.