Imagine if a clerk at the hospital where you are seeking care could deny you admittance, or an emergency room doctor could turn you away at the hospital door when you are having a heart attack, or any number of emergencies just because you are gay or transgender or perceived to be. New bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature that target your health care, and if passed, could put the lives of LGBTQ+ Texans at risk.
Texans know this is not right. That’s why 70 percent of Texans agree that our community should not be the target of discrimination.
This week, the Chair of the important House Public Health committee, Representative Stephanie Klick (North Richland Hills), added her name to a sweeping anti-LGBTQ+ healthcare refusal bill, HB 1424 (Oliverson, Houston). This bill would prevent our community from accessing any healthcare procedure — including emergency critical care — if a physician or hospital employee deems it against their “ethical, moral, or religious beliefs.” That means that any “physician, nurse, staff member, or employee” of a hospital could violate their Hippocratic Oath by turning away members of our community who are in need of life-saving medical care.
Personal ethical, moral or religious beliefs do not give anyone special rights to discriminate or determine whether someone in our community lives, dies, or receives proper healthcare. Everyone should be able to visit a hospital or their doctor without fear they will be denied healthcare and other basic rights.
While HB 1424 would allow discrimination against any LGBTQ+ Texan, HB 68 (Toth, Spring) targets transgender youth. HB 68 would ban transgender youth from accessing affirming, evidence-based best practice healthcare by reclassifying it as child abuse. For transgender youth who are insistent, consistent, and persistent about their gender identity, parents, guardians and medical experts work together to provide age-appropriate care. This is a thoughtful and lengthy process that is personal and private to each family. Classifying standards of care for adolescents and teens as child abuse sets a dangerous precedent for all Texans by allowing non-expert lawmakers to criminalize care that is life-saving and consistent with prevailing medical standards.
Beyond the harm HB 68 would cause transgender young people, it would also penalize physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, educational psychologists, and any other person designated or licensed as a mental health or behavioral science professional who provides evidence based best-practice medical care for trans youth and open them up to the related penalties.
These professionals are often the first people who teach families with kids who come out as transgender how to navigate a world that isn’t built for trans people. They offer support, resources, and crucial guidance that can truly make the difference between life and death. Let’s make sure they’re supported.
February 22, 2021 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
March 1, 2021 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Wednesdays, February 17th – May 26th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The 87th Texas legislative session has begun and due to the pandemic, we will have limited opportunities to visit the capitol in person. Join us on Wednesdays during session for different phone bank initiatives to engage Equality Texans across the State!
Stay strong, we’re also tracking over 31 pro-LGBTQ+ bills that have been filed by our champions in the legislature. We are making progress, despite these newest attacks. We will always fight to protect our community, and together, we’ll create a Texas that recognizes the full and lived equality of all of us.
The Equality Texas Team