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NCYL Statement on Texas Order Targeting Transgender Children and Their Families

This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order requiring the state's child welfare agency to investigate the delivery of gender affirming care as child abuse.  

National Center for Youth Law condemns this directive as harmful to children and discriminatory.

Gender affirming care is widely recognized as life-saving, medically necessary care by major medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. A 2020 survey by the Trevor Project found more than half of youth who identify as transgender had considered suicide in the last year and 60% reported engaging in self harm. The best way to lower this risk is for youth to be in a safe and supportive home with access to appropriate health care. 

Parents and guardians who ensure their children have access to necessary gender affirming health care provided by licensed health care professionals are doing everything right. This is not abuse. 

If implemented, this order would devastate families and lead to the traumatizing separation of children from loving families. Rather than protecting children’s health, safety, and wellbeing, the order harms children in an attempt to weaponize the child welfare system for political gain. 

Although Governor Abbott’s order is not legally binding because he does not have the power to change multiple state and federal laws, including constitutionally protected rights to privacy, it is still harmful to children.  Even without legal effect, the order may lead to confusion and fear and deter people from accessing critical health care. It may even result in the removal of children from their supportive home environments. Further, the order unfairly targets and stigmatizes transgender children, the dangers of which are immense. 

Governor Abbott’s order denies the humanity of children in need of healthcare, including transgender and gender expansive youth. It deliberately targets parents of transgender children based solely on their children’s gender identity and transgender status, which constitutes unlawful sex discrimination.

National Center for Youth Law stands in solidarity with families who support their children in receiving access to life saving gender affirming care as well as the agency attorneys and actors who refuse to follow this dangerous directive. We must center transgender and gender expansive youth as we advocate together for gender justice and equitable access to healthcare in Texas and throughout the country.