By Adia Miller
In February, Texas state governor Greg Abbott gave an order to child welfare services to look into cases of transgender kids receiving gender-affirming care on the grounds of child abuse. While surgeries to change and alter physical genders are rarely given to children according to Pediatrics journal, Abbott is attempting to block access to hormones, therapy centers specifically focused on communicating self-image for transgender people, and other forms of physical and mental therapy for trans children, as well as possibly removing or supervising parents’ care over their trans child. Ultimately, the legislature declined to pass SB 1646, a bill that would have legally designated gender-affirming medical treatment for minors as child abuse.
Former Texas resident Amanda Adams is familiar with the more conservative parts of Texas, and says she knows there is a real possibility of Abbott’s idea becoming a legal reality. “If I was in a state that did this and I was in the position to do so, I would leave that state. I would want to stay and fight, but I would be so afraid of what [the government] could do,” said Adams, a mother and trans ally.
Many families in Texas share this sentiment. The Texas Tribute reports some families decided to pack their bags and move onto other states or more liberal cities within Texas. Others in more complicated situations who have trans children have started to fear seeking medical and therapeutic assistance under the threat of child abuse charges.
Five Texas district attorneys signed a letter which reads: “We are deeply disturbed by Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton’s cruel directives treating transgender children’s access to lifesaving, gender affirming care as ‘child abuse.’” The US Department of Health and Human Services also assured the public that it would help protect the rights of transgender children.