Have multiple bills was submitted to the Texas State Senate, which would make providing or consenting to gender-affirming child care to a minor a form of child abuse under the Texas Family Code.
The bills are just a handful of more than 800 bills submitted to the Texas Legislature in anticipation of the new legislative session beginning in January. The list of submissions is crammed with every form of culture war grievance imaginable. These include bills banning trans athletes from the sport of K-12, increasing penalties for voter fraud, introducing a requirement that public schools teach that human life begins at conception, further restricting access to abortion, and e-cigarette ownership criminalize on school grounds.
Although Republicans were thrashed across most of the country, in Texas the GOP managed to make narrow gains in the legislature. Many of these proposed bills don’t actually become law, but the dossier offers a glimpse into the way reactionary politics creeps into political discussions. Nowhere is this more evident than in the state’s planned attacks on trans people.
An obsessive fixation on transgender youth has taken over Republican politics in recent years, with experts claiming the transgender community is a predatory space aimed at corrupting and harming children in order to increase their numbers. On Tuesday, former Trump aide Stephen Miller tweeted that Americans “live in a country where chemical castration drugs are easier to get than ivermectin.”
Studies have shown that access to gender-affirming care significantly improves outcomes for transgender youth. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health standards of care recommend supportive care with the work of a psychologist for young children who are exploring their gender identity. Adolescents may explore the medical transition through puberty blockers or hormones with the guidance of physicians and with the consent of their legal guardian. In general, WPATH standards of care require a rigorous psychological and physical evaluation before any procedure is performed, and major surgery is not recommended until adulthood.
More than 30 states have introduced some form of legislation that seeks to restrict the rights and medical freedoms of transgender people, and more than 155 bills were introduced in 2022 alone. Several states, including Arkansas and Alabama, have passed legislation attempting to outright ban gender-affirming underage grooming, prompting backlash from civil rights organizations. The Florida State Medical Association, staffed by governor appointments, has barred doctors from providing gender-affirming care to minors.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already laid the groundwork for bills criminalizing abortion by issuing an edict to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in February directing it to treat families of trans children as investigating potential perpetrators of child abuse. Twenty-three medical associations and groups filed an amicus letter supporting the need for gender-affirming care in a case against Abbott’s order.
The blatant hostility towards transgender people has already led to an intensified climate and violence against transgender people and their supporters. In September, a woman was charged with making a fake bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital and forcing an evacuation. The threat came after days of sensational and false claims by right-wing experts that the hospital’s Gender Multispecialty Service program was performing genital remodeling surgeries on “young girls”. This year alone, the Human Rights Campaign tracked down at least 32 murders of transgender and gender non-conforming people.