There is no commonly held belief about when the term “transgender” came into existence. It is however widely accepted that the term became more popular in the 1980s. And ever since the 1980s, many groups, such as Christian conservatives have been trying to shoot down as many bills and laws about trans rights as possible. It is no secret that transgender people have faced persecution for a long time simply because of who they are. One of the most recent attacks on transgender youth has been made by Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton, the Governor and Attorney General of Texas.
On February 23, 2022 Paxton made a statement proclaiming that under Texas law gender affirming health care is child abuse. This statement was followed by Abbott’s endorsement on Twitter and other social media platforms. This escalated when Abbott put out a statement instructing healthcare professionals, school administrators, and members of the general public to report trans youth to their parents and Child Protective Services. The governor and the attorney general have taken the stance that gender affirming healthcare including hormones and hormone blockers are child abuse in Texas. As a trans non-binary person, I have never understood the hatred towards the trans community, especially trans youth.
When I heard this it genuinely terrified me. I don’t think that I have ever been so close to so much hatred within the area that I live. I am a trans person, some of my friends are trans, and we are all still children, yet we are already hated for things that we did not choose to happen to us.
Paxton is not only the Attorney General of Texas but has also been convicted of several different federal crimes. According to the New York Times, Paxton was charged with securities fraud in 2015. Securities fraud, also called investment or stock fraud, is a first degree felony with a maximum of 99 years in prison. According to the same source, more recently, Paxton was accused of abusing his position and office. He was accused by none other than his own staff, who are around him frequently. According to ABC News, Paxton also cheated on his wife with a woman who he later recommended for a job.
One of the points that Paxton made in a letter to Matt Krause, a member of the House of Representatives, was that trans healthcare was child abuse because it caused permanent damage to a child’s health. Disregarding the fact that most doctors won’t perform gender affirming surgeries on minors, the most they’ll do is give a child hormones. Hormone therapy or in some cases hormone blockers are both entirely reversible. So if, sometime in the future, a transgender child grows up and decides to de-transition then they can do so very easily. There is no logical explanation for the blatant acts of trans-phobia made by Abbott and Paxton. There is no reason for gender affirming healthcare to be child abuse especially when it helps children be more comfortable with their bodies. Without resources such as hormones, some people feel enhanced amounts of gender dysmorphia.
Gender dysmorphia most commonly refers to when a gender non conforming or transgender person feels alienated in their body. It is important to note that not all transgender people have gender dysmorphia, though a lot do. For me, dysmorphia can be triggered by people not perceiving you as the gender you want to be perceived as. Different people have dysmorphia about different things whether it’s about their voice, their chest, etc. Gender affirming healthcare can help reduce the dysmorphia and help individuals feel more like themselves. Without resources like these suicide and unhealthy habits could increase among youth.
The trans-phobia outlined by some of the most prominent leaders of Texas is disgraceful. According to ABC News transgender people are already at a higher risk for suicide than their peers and if more kids are outed to their parents and not getting the help they need then these rates will only go up. The Texas government is not protecting trans youth, they are making it more difficult for us to exist.
Another problem I have with sticking CPS on the parents of trans kids is that there are kids that actually need the help of these services. On March 10, it came out that children in a government sponsored facility in Bastrop that was designed to help underage victims of sex trafficking, were being abused by employees. According to a court document, between January 24 and March 4 one employee in the facility put eight people back into human trafficking. There are several other reports from various sources about employees of the facility coercing the residents in the facility into letting the employee take explicit photos of them. Most of these employees later sold the images. All of this is going on in a facility that the Texas government sponsored. These things could have been stopped sooner if people were paying more attention to the things that matter.
I could go on and on about this topic as a whole but the core of it is: the Texas government should be focused on children that actually need help and are in actual danger. Trans children are not a new thing. Even before the term was created, trans people have existed. No parent is forcing their child to be transgender, transgender youth do not do this to spite you, and we will not go away just because you threaten to take away gender affirming healthcare.