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Opinion: Gov. Abbott’s Directive Irreversibly Harms Transgender Minors

New directive will endanger vulnerable children, rip away support systems
Graphic by Kimmie Johansen
With a flag representing the transgender community in hand, a girl runs playfully. The actions taken by the Texas government will have disastrous effects on the quality of life of transgender minors.

A letter written by Gov. Greg Abbott and validated by the Office of the Attorney General states that all gender affirming surgery and hormone therapy on minors will constitute as child abuse. Abbott has also directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate all reported instances of gender transitioning procedures in Texas.

A Texas appeals court has blocked all investigations based on Abbott’s directive after a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a transgender minor, her parent and her therapist. The case will continue to the Texas Supreme Court.

 This directive is not only irrational and dehumanizing, but extremely dangerous and life-threatening as well. If the Texas Supreme Court allows it to stand, it will have an enormous effect on thousands of transgender youth in Texas, their families and child abuse agencies. 

The transgender community is already one of the most vulnerable and targeted groups in America. According to the Trevor Project, 75% of LGBTQ+ youth have experienced discrimination due to their identity. Transgender kids are 2.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than cisgender kids. However, when given the opportunity to obtain gender affirming clothing and procedures, suicide rates significantly decrease.

There is absolutely no doubt that without the opportunity to transition, suicide rates within the transgender community will continue to rise. The mental, emotional and physical consequences this will have on transgender youth will be devastating.

To accept this directive means to accept the death of thousands of transgender kids. If Abbott is allowing this to happen, then he should be held directly responsible for these deaths. 

Establishing this directive as law will not only affect the lives of transgender kids, but their families as well. 

The transitioning process is difficult for families as is, but to add the fear of parents being labeled as child abusers makes parents scared to protect and support their children. Even if parents put aside this fear, abuse will still be put on their records, causing them to potentially lose their children along with their jobs and reputation.

When Abbott claims that gender affirming care is abusive, it redefines child abuse in a harmful way. This takes away attention and awareness from actual victims, chief among them transgender children. Transgender kids are four times more likely to be abused than cisgender kids, according to the UCLA School of Law.

Abbott holds a ridiculous belief that gender affirming procedures takes away the right of transgender youth to procreate, and as the decision would be made while they are minors, he thinks it should qualify as child abuse. 

However, by saying this, he completely ignored the fact that transgender kids go through extensive therapy to be sure about their decision. The process of obtaining any sort of gender affirming healthcare is filled with legal and personal obstacles and months of waiting. If Abbott had bothered to consult medical professionals, he would know that procedures that remove reproductive organs are not even available to transgender minors.

The ease with which Gov. Abbott threatens and endangers thousands of lives is horrifying, and cannot be permitted to continue. He risks the safety of not only the transgender community, but also their support system including families and medical professionals, without reasonable justification or evidence. 

Abbott has a history of disrespecting and disregarding the value of lives, one that shows that he has no place in a government position, let alone as the governor of an entire state. 

Since Abbott’s inauguration in 2015, he has established more than 47 anti-LGBTQ bills. Between the bill against transgender athletes and the directive limiting trans kids’ access necessary health care, Abbott has the audacity to attack the trans community not just once, but numerous times. At this point, it seems like the relentless attacks will never end. 

He, and others in power, have either completely forgotten or are flat out ignoring the fact that those they are constantly hurting are living, breathing people. They’re just kids. The ignorance and harm behind this directive cannot continue to masquerade under the guise of “protecting children.”

We must not wait for further violations of human rights before we as the public come to the consensus that the transgender community is wrongfully being targeted, because eventually there won’t be anyone left to protect. A change needs to be made in Texas, and it needs to happen now.

About the Contributor
Libby Howell, Features editor
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Being able to make new friends with the staff! Who are your favorite music artists? Drake, The Lumineers, and Zach Bryan What causes are you passionate about? Gun control and women's rights