Opinion: Gov. Greg Abbott actively discriminates against transgender people


Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s new directive, Texas officials have begun investigations on the parents of transgender adolescents for child abuse. The directive from Abbott follows attorney general Ken Paxton’s 13-page legal opinion on Feb.18, in which he argued that certain gender-affirming procedures and treatments were legally able to be constituted as child abuse.

It should not be questioned whether or not this is cruel toward transgender youth and their families, no matter how much Abbott tries to hide it under the veil of protecting youth from abuse. It’s blatantly discriminatory against transgender adolescents and their parents, and the directive to investigate the parents of transgender youths has left many enraged and fearful. According to a poll taken by the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization focused on LGBTQ+ youth, 85% of transgender and non-binary youth have said that recent debates over state laws that target transgender people have negatively affected their mental health. 

Gender-affirming healthcare, as the name suggests, is healthcare, and for Abbott to declare it as child abuse is absurd. Healthcare is meant to better the health — both physically and mentally — of its patients, and Abbott essentially making it illegal for transgender youth actively harms not only them, but their families.

There is an argument to be made that letting children make such large choices with their lives at such a young age is, but that is an argument I find to be more confusing than not. Being transgender, gay, or anything under the LGBTQ+ spectrum is not a choice, and to insinuate such reveals a sore lack of research or understanding of the subject. The only choices that are being made are coming out as transgender, and exploration and discovery of one’s own identity. Gender dysphoria, or the feeling of dissonance with the gender assigned to one’s self at birth, means that being a transgender person is less a choice, and more acceptance of one’s own identity. While I do agree that body altering surgery for transgender youth should be held off until adulthood, gender change surgery is rarely ever performed on children. Hormonal therapy, however, should be allowed, as it allows for transgender youth to feel at place with their own identity while also exploring it.

In Houston, the Texas Children’s Hospital has stopped providing hormone therapy to transgender children after Abbott’s directive to open child abuse investigations. Starting gender-affirming hormone treatment in transgender adolescence is linked to improved mental health compared to waiting until adulthood. In fact, new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that earlier hormonal treatment results in fewer thoughts of suicide, makes people less likely to experience major mental health disorders and have fewer issues with substance abuse than those who started hormones in adulthood.

It would be a sore understatement to call this government overreach. Spitting in the face of the security of citizens through forced investigations of “child abuse,” the reality is that it’s healthcare. Abbott is attempting to discriminate and harm the transgender population with his directive, and compounding this with the ban on many books shows that he’s set on silencing the Texan transgender population.