By Kian Samavati, April 2 2022—
A couple of months ago, Governor of Texas Greg Abbot — to put it briefly — put a large number of transgender children and their parents in severe health and legal risk.
The policy he’s enforced on his state has made it so that parents seeking gender-affirming medical treatment for their transgender children are to be reported by doctors, nurses and anyone else they may come to for assistance for engaging in child abuse.
That means practically any help these kids may need on a medical basis regarding their transition will be illegal and thus, not provided to them. Any parent seeking out this medical attention in the first place could be charged as a felon.
There are a great many things wrong with this, not the least of which being that much of the fearmongering surrounding it is based on simple misinformation. For example, one of the accusations the directive makes is that “gender reassignment surgery,” a procedure that’s meant to assist directly in the transitional process, is commonly performed on children and as such should be banned.
This is just misinformed since, as can be seen in many other articles on the subject, this type of surgery is hardly ever done on people under 18. Only in specific cases is it ever done on children and in each of those cases, much deliberation is done to see if it’s necessary.
All in all, this demonstrates that there’s a false narrative about the ethicacy of supporting trans youth that this directive is spreading in order to enforce its agenda. And that enforcement has real, damaging consequences.
Beyond the legal ramifications for any parent simply asking for support for their trans kids, the negative impact this directive could have on those children is staggering. It is taking away an innumerable number of support systems they have to maintain both their physical and mental well-being — an example of this being the removal of the LGBTQ+ youth section of the Texas Department of Health Services suicide prevention website in accordance with this policy. Doing that to a population far more susceptible to higher rates of depression and self-harm like trans youth is undeniably damaging.
While it could be said that families negatively affected by the policy can simply go to another state, the issue here is ultimately the precedent this sets for the rest of North America in its treatment of trans youth. Because even if Texas was the first state to execute a directive this drastic, it’s far from the only state in the US that has considered such enforcements, at least a dozen more have similar legislatures on the rise.
All of this is in a seemingly targeted effort to erase the existence of trans youth and LGBTQ+ issues in general from the public consciousness, and as such I believe this matter shouldn’t be ignored or swept under the rug.
Regardless of if you think gender transition is something that should be promoted, taking away support for kids in these positions does more harm than good. They still need some form of assistance and this policy makes it so that such assistance isn’t being given to them under enforcement of law.
If anything, it’s far better that these systems are in place so that these kids have a source of information and support to rely on, elsewise they may take matters into their own hands with a lack of proper knowledge and guidance. Even if you think kids getting gender-affirmation therapy is a bad thing, you likely still think they need and deserve to be helped.
Not having that, as has been researched, only negatively impacts their mental health which, under enough pressure, can lead to them negatively impacting their physical health. All under the enforcement of a directive that’s motivation is based largely on misinformation. And that’s not something that should be practised by anyone, anywhere.
This article is part of our Opinions section.