Texas has recently joined the list of states that have banned gender-affirming care for teenagers, becoming the 17th state to implement such restrictions. Governor Greg Abbot, a Republican, signed the bill on Friday, which outlaws the prescription of puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery for individuals under the age of 18 who wish to transition, Your Content has learned.
The law is set to go into effect on September 1 and carries the consequence of license revocation for medical providers who violate it.
This ban on gender-affirming care in Texas has stirred up controversy, with opposition groups criticizing the law for jeopardizing healthcare.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU) strongly condemned the lawmakers, stating that they were endangering the health and lives of transgender youth.
The ACLU argued that the law goes against the overwhelming scientific and medical evidence supporting gender-affirming care.
They emphasized that transgender youth in Texas deserve the necessary support and care to thrive.
The legislation in Texas, known as Senate Bill 14, includes certain exceptions for minors who began treatment prior to June 1 or who have undergone 12 or more sessions of mental health counseling or psychotherapy for a minimum of six months.
However, even for these exceptions, the law specifies a requirement to gradually discontinue prescription drugs over an unspecified period.
Texas is the largest state thus far to enforce these restrictions, and it is home to a significant transgender community.
Estimates indicate that there are approximately 29,800 individuals under the age of 18 who identify as transgender in Texas, making it the third-highest number in the United States, following New York and California.
It is worth noting that the state of Texas has also instructed child welfare officials to investigate cases where children receive transgender care as child abuse. However, a judge has blocked these investigations from proceeding.
This development in Texas follows a similar trend in other Republican-led states.
Nebraska recently passed a law restricting transgender care for minors, banning hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and surgery for individuals under the age of 19. At least 18 states have now implemented bans on transgender care, while Florida has restricted it through regulations or administrative orders.
It is important to mention that bans in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Alabama have been temporarily suspended by federal judges pending court cases.
These recent legislative actions reflect the broader efforts by Republican lawmakers across the country, who have introduced numerous measures targeting various aspects of transgender existence.
These measures include bans on gender-affirming medical care for minors, restrictions on restroom usage, limitations on classroom instruction regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, and bills aimed at disclosing transgender students’ identities.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved puberty blockers and sex hormones several decades ago for specific medical conditions, they have not been explicitly approved for treating gender-questioning youth.
Nevertheless, these medications have been used off-label for many years, and medical professionals who specialize in transgender healthcare argue that their efficacy and safety are well-established.
It is important to note that research has shown an increased risk of suicidal behavior among transgender youth and adults who are forced to live as the sex assigned to them at birth, according to FORBES.