Texas will become the largest state to ban gender-based childcare for trans youth
Texas is poised to become the latest state to ban gender-based dating services for transgender minors as Republicans nationwide continue their attacks on queer Americans.
The legislature has sent Senate Act 14 to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday by a vote of 19 to 12. The bill would ban doctors from providing Hormone therapy and anti-puberty treatments for minors, as well as gender-affirming surgeries. Patients already being cared for would need to be “weaned” from such treatment in a “medically appropriate” manner.
It’s unclear what this provision means, given that medical groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Associationhave long said that such care is medically necessary.
If signed, the law would take effect on September 1 and would mark a notable moment in Republican efforts to limit health care to transgender minors. Texas would be the largest state to do so, and the regulations could affect many of the estimates 30,000 trans youth between the ages of 13 and 17 who live there.
Civil rights groups have vowed to stand against the law in court. Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez said the initiative was part of a “disgraceful plan to eliminate us from public life,” but promised the group would continue to fight the law.
“This legislation is vicious, it’s cruel, and it’s obviously unconstitutional,” said Ash Hall, the policy and advocacy strategist at the Texas ACLU, in one opinion last week. “The bigotry and discrimination in this bill will not stand up in court and it will not stand the test of time.”
The Texas GOP took several steps in this session to limit the rights of trans people. Lawmakers in the statehouse voted Wednesday to introduce a separate bill that would do so require athletes on public college teams to play in teams based on gender assigned at birth.
State Senator Bob Hall (R) said so the Texas Tribune that Republican lawmakers equated access to health care with protecting children from smoking and alcohol, saying it’s the job of lawmakers to “protect people.”
“We protect children from many things. We don’t let them smoke. We don’t let them drink. We don’t allow them to buy lottery tickets,” he said. “And we’re doing the right thing with that.”
Abbott has supported similar actions in the past. Last year he faced widespread criticism after he signed an executive order directing a state agency to investigate child abuse parents who seek gender-affirmative treatment of their children. Lambda Legal and the ACLU have sued against that effort, which has been on hold since June while the case progresses through court.
The attack on trans people has become a focal point in Republican politics in recent years. At least 14 states have enacted bans or restrictions on health care for transgender minors, making these efforts, despite small numbers, important legislative priorities Number of people affected by such laws. Other Republican-driven efforts have targeted drag queens, access to restrooms, and so on Discussions about gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom.