Texas’ second special session started last Saturday and Texas elected leaders wasted no time in attacking transgender kids. Already, the Texas Senate held a hearing and passed SB 2 (Perry), the bill excluding transgender youth from their peers by banning them from participating in sports. In the first special session’s Senate hearing for this bill, Senators crossed the line with invasive questions and manipulative tactics. After this experience, equality groups made the strategic decision to boycott the committee’s attempt to repeat their performance in the second special session.
The bill now waits in the House, which is still on hold until quorum is met. This week the Texas House was just 5 people short of the number needed for a quorum and to begin moving bills again.
A committee hearing could be called with just 24 hours of notice — send in a video testimony now to tell legislators not to move any anti-transgender legislation.
This week the Governor also unveiled his plan to ban affirming, life-saving healthcare for trans kids. His plan: to take unilateral action through the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS). Governor Abbott asked DFPS to weigh in on whether gender confirmation surgeries — which we know are not part of best-practice healthcare for trans youth— would be considered child abuse. DFPS responded that the procedures “as described by the Governor” would be considered child abuse, but included a carve-out that allows for continued harm of intersex kids through non-consensual surgeries they’re calling “medically necessary.”
Nothing in the Governor’s request is part of best practice standards for affirming healthcare for transgender people. This will not affect the actual affirming, life-saving healthcare transgender youth access on a daily basis. But it does mean that the private lives of transgender children and their families are in the headlines yet again with rhetoric that reinforces the lies used to justify discriminatory legislation.
The Governor’s letter, and the response from DFPS, were designed to do nothing more than placate a fringe minority of primary voters, and it is unconscionable to keep using these kids and their families as political pawns.
There have been over 60 attacks on the LGBTQ+ community since bills were first filed 10 months ago. 10 months is an incredibly long time to live in a state of uncertainty about your rights and the rights of those you love.
Debating these bills causes harm. Painting transgender people as a dangerous “problem” that can only be solved by exclusion or erasure causes harm. Forcing vulnerable community members and those they love to beg legislators for basic respect causes harm.
Drive home the point that these debates need to end — send a two minute video testimony now.
This year, as politicians have used transgender children as their political weapons, kids and their families have had to walk through crowds of angry adults just to visit their pediatricians, keeping kids from accessing even basic healthcare. Families have been demonized, attacked, and insulted at the legislature, and had the privacy of their children invaded by adult politicians with no business in these families’ lives.
As the Texas House closes in on a quorum, every action counts. Here’s how to get involved:
Our children deserve to feel safe in their communities, have the opportunity to play games with their friends, and grow up healthy. We won’t stop fighting to protect our children, but we shouldn’t have to fight in the first place. Transgender kids and their families don’t deserve to be political collateral, and don’t deserve to live under the constant threat of whether the state will target them yet again.
As we gear up for another full round at the legislature, we need your help to reject this outdated, harmful agenda and focus on improving health, safety and education opportunities for all children in Texas.