Updated: Feb 26
By: Valerie Reyes
On Monday Feb. 18 Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had said in an opinion letter that gender-affirming medical care to minors is abuse under the Texas Family Code. In a press release statement Attorney General Ken Paxton says “There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas Law, and thus must be halted... The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.” In his letter he explains that these gender-affirming procedures can permanently cause harm to children such as permanent infertility, mental health effects, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and more which can be found in his opinion letter. He also states that minor children may not be mature enough to make such a life-changing decision.
In response to the opinion, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is directing Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate gender-affirming procedures for transgender youth as child abuse. Abbott states that it should be illegal to allow children to undergo these gender-affirming procedures “it is already against the law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning…” According to Abbott, anyone to have contact with the child such as family, teachers, and doctors must report this as child abuse, failure to report will lead to criminal penalties.
Gender affirmation surgery helps people transition to their self-identified gender. Not everyone choses to undergo gender affirmation surgery, but may choose hormone therapy, puberty blockers or voice therapy. As well as changing their clothing, hairstyle, names, and pronouns. These procedures and changes can help those who have gender dysphoria which is the feeling of distress in people who do not identify as their sex assigned at birth. According to my.cleveleandclinic.org “Research has shown that transgender individuals who choose gender-affirming surgery experience long-term mental health benefits.”
Arkansas was the first state to prohibit gender-affirming treatments, and as of 2022, there are at least 20 states with similar treatment bans.