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Texas law could remove transgender children from their parents’ homes for receiving gender-affirming care



ABILENE, TX – Transgender children in Texas are speaking out for their right to medical care as state lawmakers consider legislation that would make providing gender-affirming care tantamount to child abuse.

“God made me. God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes,” Kai Shappley, a 10-year-old transgender girl, said during a State Affairs Committee hearing reported by the Texas Tribune. “I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices.”

The bill, written by Senator Charles Perry, would add “administering or supplying, or consenting to or assisting in the administering or supplying of” gender reassignment surgery or puberty blockers for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment to the list of punishable offenses under the state’s child protection laws. Parents, as well as medical providers, who provide gender-affirming care to transgender children could lose custody and face criminal charges.

Medical professionals and the LGBTQ+ community, including transgender advocates, argue that if transgender children don’t receive gender-affirming health care, they are at higher risk for mental health conditions and even suicide. Studies show that access to puberty blockers can decrease the risk of suicide in transgender teens, who are already at higher risk for suicide than their cisgender peers.

“Affirming health care can literally be life or death for anyone, but particularly for trans youth,” Raquel Willis, a Black trans activist and writer, told CNN. “People think that’s an exaggeration. It’s not. People think you can just discipline identity out of someone and that is not true and in many ways is torture.”

The bill is just one of four pieces of anti-transgender legislation state lawmakers are considering this week and six that have been introduced this year, including several banning transgender athletes from participating in sports and others restricting transgender patients’ access to health care. The push is part of a nationwide effort to restrict the rights of transgender Americans that has sparked backlash from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.