Texan Officials Dub Gender-Affirming Treatments as Child Abuse

Maria Verduzco, Editorial Writer

Within the last couple of weeks, anti-trans rhetoric has been growing in Texas, the mOn February 18, Attorney General Paxton made a statement regarding trans youth. His statement included claiming that giving a transgender minor gender affirming care, which includes horomone suppressants, puberty blockers, and even gender reassignment surgeries, could be classified as child abuse.

Last week Governor Abott backed Paxton’s claim and wrote a letter urging medical officials and the general public to come forth and report any families allowing their child to undergo any gender affirming help. According to his letter, Governor Abbott states, “I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation on any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas.” While both the opinion and the letter hold no legal power, there are already at least three families under investigation.

According to The New York Times, among these three families one of them includes a 16 year old trans girl, Mary Doe. Not much information has been released on this investigation. So far all we know is that the mother, Jane Doe, who works at the state’s protective services agency and oversees the abuse and neglect reports was put on administrative leave after asking if this information was true and if it would affect her daughter.

Mary Doe is receiving professionally assigned gender affirming care in order to help ease her gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is an issue many transgender people face, it’s a feeling they get when they don’t recognize their own body. According to the American Psychiatric Association gender dysphoria is described as a “clinically significant distress and impairment related to a strong desire to be of another gender.” Someone dealing with gender dysphoria may look at themselves in the mirror and not know who they are, they may feel like an imposter within their own body. This can cause lots of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

If this letter comes to pass as a law it will be a criminal offense to support and help trans youth feel comfortable in their bodies. This could be extremely detrimental to the child’s mental health. Not feeling like yourself, especially during your teenage years, and not being able to properly express yourself is extremely frustrating and could cause extreme mental health issues. Suicide rates among the trans community are extremely high as is, this new conflict won’t do anything to help, it could even worsen the situation. According to a study done by The Trevor Project, 60% of trans and non-binary minors have self-harmed and had thoughts about suicide. Having two notable members of the Texan government openly express their transphobia has the potential to influence many Texan citizens to openly express their transphobia as well.