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Trans Youth Gender-Affirming Care Banned in Texas

On Jan. 30, trans group activists met in a Texas court to protest Senate Bill 14, a bill that banned gender-affirming care for minors. Those minors directly affected and their parents, with the help of legal advocates, appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to uphold a prior decision in the lower courts, which deemed the bill's temporary injunction (stoppage) appropriate. 


Gender-affirming care, used in the medical and LGTBQ+ community, provides nonbinary and trans people access to care that makes them more comfortable with their identity. This care can be through simple things such as clothes and aesthetic changes to medical treatment such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery though it is rare among minors. 


The law was preceded by other laws that restricted the LGTBQ+ community. Texas banned Diversity Equality Inclusion programs on college campuses and attempted but failed to ban books for content deemed “Explicit” in K-12. SB-14 was hotly contested before it was officially passed in July 2023. Critics of the bill say it is unconstitutional because it discriminates against a child's medical choice based on sex, eliminates a parent’s right to choose their child’s medical care and targets medical professionals' duties to their patients. 


Supporters of the bill assert that its purpose is to protect children from a treatment they see as dangerous, experimental and harmful. In a debate on the Texas House floor, supporters of the bill saw it as more of a prevention of a drug than a restriction of a right. They compared it to the practice of outlawing underage drinking and smoking. In an official Republican Party of Texas press release, they called gender-affirming care mutilation and castration. 


This view is contested in part by the majority of the medical world which deems medical methods such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy as relatively safe. Studies have also shown a high increase in depression, anxiety and suicide among trans youth who don’t take treatment. In contrast, those who receive treatment have a lower rate of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideations. 


Texas is not the only state to ban gender-affirming care as 22 other states have also passed similar bills. One of the more controversially known would be Florida which has passed these anti-LGTBQ+ bills with less resistance. The “Don’t Say Gay'' bill limits discussions relating to LGTBQ studies and discussions in school curricula and public spaces. 

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