We at Inclusive Guide condemn Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent transphobic directive to investigate the families of children who have received gender-affirming care. As an organization with several gender-expansive employees, we intimately know what harm such directives and other political moves can cause to trans and non-binary individuals. If you live in Texas, we implore you to vote early to try to oust Abbott using the democratic process. We also urge Texas residents to write and call your senators and representatives, as well as support or join human rights–focused political organizations, such as the Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas offices of the Human Rights Campaign.
In 2020, The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for queer individuals, found that 52% of all trans and non-binary people aged 13–24 in the United States seriously considered killing themselves. More specifically, a high rate of young people of color attempted to kill themselves, the highest being 31% for Indigenous youth. (The two second-highest groups were Black and multiracial young people at 21% each.) With statistics such as these, we need to do everything in our power to nurture our trans and non-binary youth, not prevent them from receiving life-saving care or resources. Abbott’s recent directive only inflames an already unacceptable situation for our country’s gender-expansive community.
Additionally, research doesn’t support the misinformed idea that gender-affirming care is “child abuse.” In fact, the opposite is true: A December 2021 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of Adolescent Health asserts that gender-affirming hormone therapy is tied to lower rates of both suicidal ideation and depression in gender-expansive youth, as well as a considerable reduction in suicide attempts among trans and non-binary people younger than 18 years old. Major US medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association, also support gender-affirming care models for young people.
Fortunately, legal experts such as Chase Strangio of the American Civil Liberties Union say the Texas governor’s directive is not legally binding. Texas’ process for child abuse investigations remains the same, including the standard required to initiate an investigation in the first place. However, Abbott’s anti-trans posturing causes needless stress, anxiety, and fear among gender-expansive young people and their families in Texas. His use of transphobic rhetoric and symbolic political moves exploits the real lives of trans and non-binary youth as a bargaining chip for his ultra-conservative constituents. And while this directive may not be enforceable, it signals to Texans, and people throughout the country, that it’s acceptable to disregard the humanity of one our most vulnerable populations—a sentiment that does lead to consequences for the trans and non-binary community, such as transphobic bathroom bills and sports regulations.
We hope you stand with us against Abbott’s cruel efforts to dehumanize our gender-expansive colleagues, friends, and family members. If you live in Texas, we implore you to vote early, join social justice campaigns, and/or contact your senators and representatives. (If you’re unsure who represents you, the Who Represents Me? tool can help you find your congressional district.) Let Abbott have a piece of us.
Carlisle, Madeleine. “‘It’s Creating a Witch Hunt.’ How Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Anti-Trans Directive Hurts LGBTQ Youth.” TIME, 24 Feb. 2022, time.com/6150964/greg-abbott-trans-kids-child-abuse/. Accessed 24 Feb. 2022.
Ennis, Dawn. “‘Terrible Time for Trans Youth’: New Survey Spotlights Suicide Attempts—and Hope.” Forbes, 29 May 2021, forbes.com/sites/dawnstaceyennis/2021/05/19/terrible-time-for-trans-youth-new-survey-spotlights-suicide-spike---and-hope/?sh=73724425716e. Accessed 24 Feb. 2022.
Green, Amy E., et al. “Association of Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy with Depression, Thoughts of Suicide, and Attempted Suicide Among Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.” Journal of Adolescent Health, in press (published online 14 Dec. 2021), pp. 1–7, doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.10.036. Accessed 24 Feb. 2022.