FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Feb. 22 the state of Texas issued a non-binding opinion declaring pediatric gender-affirming care to be criminal child abuse. This was followed by a directive to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to classify gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abuse and investigate parents accordingly. Mandatory reporters – including trusted partners like doctors, nurses, and teachers – could face criminal penalties for failure to report any knowledge of a child receiving gender-affirming care.
Data shows that gender-affirming practices for transgender youth improve mental health outcomes and school attendance. This is particularly valuable given that transgender youth are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety; attempt suicide; and engage in self-harming activities compared to their school-aged peers. Lack of acceptance from key support networks, such as their family and community, put transgender youth at a heightened risk of experiencing homelessness or trafficking. The State of Texas has decided to further discriminate against and punish transgender children and their families through this order, regardless of the negative impact on children.
Gender-affirming care can be complex and addresses both mental and physical health. It is individualized care intended to support patients physically, socially, and emotionally which often includes working with counselors and family members. Major medical associations including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have called gender-affirming care medically necessary care in very specific circumstances. Denying evidence-based standard of care that addresses these complexities prevents our physicians from determining what is best for patients and directly interferes with the parent/child relationship. No parent should fear government intervention in the most personal details of their family’s life. No child should live in fear.
CHILDREN AT RISK is committed to protecting all children. It is our commitment to protect all Texas children that brings us together and guides every facet of our work. We encourage our leaders to use this opportunity to find a safe and equitable resolution that is in the best interest of our children.
Dr. Bob Sanborn
President & CEO
For LGBTQ mental health support, call the Trevor Project’s 24/7 toll-free support line at 866-488-7386. You can also reach a trained crisis counselor through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 800-273-8255 or texting 741741.