Texas is on the brink of banning transgender minors from getting puberty blockers and hormone therapies, treatments that leading medical groups say are important to supporting their mental health.
The Senate has voted 19-12 Wednesday to accept Senate Bill 14’s House version and send it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, two days after the lower chamber passed the legislation. Legal groups opposing the bill — including the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center — said Thursday they will launch a legal challenge to try and block the legislation from becoming law.
SB 14 is a legislative priority for the Republican Party of Texas, which opposes any efforts to validate transgender identities. It’s also a key proposal among a slate of GOP bills that would restrict the rights and representation of LGBTQ Texans this session, amid a growing acceptance of Christian nationalism on the right.
“This legislation is vicious, it’s cruel and it’s blatantly unconstitutional,” Ash Hall, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said following the first House vote. “The bigotry and discrimination in this bill will not stand up in court and it will not stand the test of time.”
And already, the prospect of losing access to these treatments has prompted many parents of trans kids — including Randell’s — to consider traveling out of state for care or flee Texas altogether, costly options that are not available to all. Others have also spoken publicly about not wanting to abandon the community that they love or that their families have been in for generations.
“We’re not going to be able to know how many children will be ‘saved,’ as it’s been called, from this lifestyle, but we will definitely be able to track what harm it may cause,” said Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, on Wednesday. “It is my hope that every child affected by this bill can have a chance to grow up and see that things will get better.”
See here for the previous update. From the inbox, here’s what is coming next:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the Transgender Law Center pledged Thursday to file a lawsuit against a sweeping new law banning transgender youth from accessing medically necessary health care that the Texas Legislature just sent to the governor’s desk.
Texas Senate Bill 14 bans the only evidence-based care for gender dysphoria for transgender people under 18 and aims to strip doctors of their medical licenses for providing their patients with the care they know to be medically necessary. Texas lawmakers have ignored the warnings of transgender youth, their families, and the medical establishment about the harms of this law.
Similar restrictions in Alabama and Arkansas have been enjoined by federal courts, and legal advocates have filed challenges in federal court to bans enacted in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Montana. A state court judge in Missouri recently blocked enforcement of the Missouri attorney general’s emergency order blocking provision of gender-affirming care.
The aforementioned organizations issue the following joint statement:
“We will be filing a lawsuit to protect transgender youth in Texas from being stripped of access to health care that keeps them healthy and alive. Coming on top of the effort last year to classify providing medically necessary and scientifically proven care to transgender youth as child abuse and threatening to tear Texas families with transgender children apart, an effort currently blocked in state court, Texas lawmakers have seen fit to double down.
“They are hellbent on joining the growing roster of states determined to jeopardize the health and lives of transgender youth, in direct opposition to the overwhelming body of scientific and medical evidence supporting this care as appropriate and necessary. Transgender youth in Texas deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers. Medically necessary health care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves. We will defend the rights of transgender youth in court, just as we have done in other states engaging in this anti-science and discriminatory fear-mongering.”
Bans like S.B. 14 are opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you or someone you know needs mental health resources or support, please visit:
—Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860 or https://www.translifeline.org
—Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
I will obviously keep an eye on that. Lambda Legal has more.