Texas Governor Wants Parents Of Trans Children To Be Investigated As Child Abusers
“This policy will kill children.”
Under a new directive issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, parents of transgender children could be investigated and prosecuted as child abusers. In a move that’s been described as “cruel” and “dangerous,” the Republican lawmaker has directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate reports of minors undergoing “gender-transitioning procedures” as child abuse. What’s more, Abbott said that professionals such as teachers, nurses, and doctors could be punished for not reporting parents of trans children to the state agency.
In a letter issued Tuesday, Abbott directed licensed professionals to report parents of children who are “subjected” to “abusive gender-transitioning procedures” and “so-called ‘sex change’ procedures” to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to be investigated as child abuse. Failure to report could result in “criminal penalties.”
Abbott’s directive comes one day after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement declaring gender-affirmation procedures, including puberty-blockers, as “child abuse” under state law. “There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” Paxton said. “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.”
Gov. Abbott noted in his own letter that performing “a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning” on children is already against the law in Texas.
As Texas, along with many other states, restricts access to such care for transgender youths, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has continued to support gender-affirming care. “It is critically important for every child to have access to quality, comprehensive and evidence-based care — transgender and gender-diverse youth are no exception,” AAP Immediate Past President Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, said in a January statement. “As pediatricians, we will continue to speak up and advocate for our patients. We also want transgender and gender-diverse youth to know that not only do we care for them, we care about them, we value them and we will do all we can to ensure they have access to the care they need and deserve.”
Abbott’s directive has led to outrage and concern among parents and advocates on social media. “It really cannot be overstated how cruel and dangerous this Texas law about trans kids is,” @pogform tweeted. “This rule is stating in no uncertain terms that they would rather have families torn apart and children be homeless or dead than have trans children.”
“This policy will kill children,” @JesseThorn tweeted. “Please hug your kids and tell them you love them and that it is always ok to be who you are.”
Gillian Branstetter, the press secretary for the National Women’s Law Center, shared a frightening hypothetical point of view on Twitter: “POV: You're the mother of an 11-year-old trans kid in Texas. One of your child's classmates caught COVID and now your kid has a fever of 102 and a hacking cough. Do you take them to the ER, knowing the nurses may report you as a child abuser?”
The Biden administration has since responded to Abbott’s directive, calling it “dangerous.” In a statement to The Dallas News, the White House said, “No parent should face the agony of a politician standing in the way of accessing life-saving care for their child.”
Indeed, Abbott’s directive is especially concerning considering that suicide ideation and behavior among transgender children is alarmingly high, according to the Youth Suicide Research Consortium.
Since Gov. Abbott’s directive, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services told the Houston Chronicle that there were no pending cases as of yet, but that it will investigate any cases that are reported. The media outlet also notes that, if this directive is indeed adopted, Texas will be one of the most restrictive states for trans kids in the country.
From being barred from competing in schools sports to using the bathroom that coincides with their affirmed gender, Abbott’s letter is yet another example of the consistent attacks on transgender youths in this country. Families of trans children in need of help and support can look to invaluable resources like GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign. You can also consider donating to Trans Texas.