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When You Have a Trans Child, How Does Texas’ Anti-trans Youth Campaign Make You Feel?

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The GOP has been conducting a war against trans kids. Recently, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas confirmed his Attorney General’s position that gender-affirming therapy, including puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and surgical operations, constituted child abuse.

The governor further said medical experts, schools, and the general public must report “so-called ‘sex change’ procedures” to state authorities. However, any such prosecution would be immediately challenged in court.

I can only image how difficult, if not dangerous, transitioning would be for our daughter in an atmosphere of dread, paranoia, and state-sponsored terror.

Abbott’s remarks scare and enrage me as the father of a trans adolescent daughter. We don’t live in Texas, and we won’t go there. That adjustment would be difficult, if not dangerous, for our daughter in an environment of dread, paranoia, and state-enabled terror. The order paints helpful parents like mine as dangerous child abusers. It also adds to the already arduous and long process of accessing care, even with parental assistance.

Abbott’s directive assumes trans identity is fictitious. Undeniably, anti-trans campaigners have alleged that peer pressure or “social contagion” is driving young people and irresponsible parents to unneeded medical procedures.

But the fact is that gender-affirming treatment has huge mental health advantages for trans adolescents. And the social contagion theory is a sham.

Texas' Anti-trans Youth Campaign

My wife and I were both pro-trans until my daughter came out. My wife is bisexual, and we had discussed queer and trans topics with our kid. We said we would support my kid if she was trans. She has trans acquaintances and had dabbled in feminine gender. In seventh grade, her female classmates spent the afternoon pampering her. She returned home beaming and giddy with joy.

Despite a supportive atmosphere, our daughter took years to come out to us or anybody else. In her freshman year of high school, she recognised she was a girl and changed her pronouns. After three years of increased physical and mental pain due to peer rejection, she returned to the closet. She came out to us in her junior year because she couldn’t take being treated like a male any longer.

We tried to get her care as promptly as we could. Despite living in a blue state and having great health insurance, “as fast as we could” turned out to mean “never.” Some psychiatrists were openly transphobic. Others were subtler. Getting a hormone therapy appointment was challenging, especially during Covid.

Not alone were there medical issues. Despite our encouragement, our daughter was worried and unsure about how soon she should change.

Transphobic culture still stigmatises transitioning. Conscience trans kids know they are targets and may close doors. My daughter is an accomplished performer who intended to portray the principal male Shakespeare characters on stage and in cinema. Being trans may complicate those goals. Taking actions that may permanently alter her physique felt risky. She postponed her hormone therapy appointment after the first visit. A year later, she began taking oestrogen.

But when she did, her doubts evaporated. We regained our inquiring, eager, creative youngster. Although there were certainly times of melancholy and worry, transitioning was the correct option. This weekend she plays Macbeth in a fantastic young Shakespeare performance.

We’re all relieved my daughter has received proper treatment. But not if Abbott and his Republican colleagues had their way.

Several local district attorneys said they will not prosecute parents or children under the mandate. But the order is to promote ambiguity. Trans children, like my daughter in Texas, may now hesitate to tell doctors about their identities.

To be safe, trans females should avoid wearing cosmetics or dresses to school, should overzealous instructors notify their parents. Finding hormones in Texas will be more complicated and stressful. One fears Abbott and his gang will succeed in removing children from their loving parents and placing them in Texas’ infamously brutal foster care system.

Abbott says he’s attempting to prevent child abuse, and maybe he is. But trans teens already attempt suicide at alarming rates. Abbott’s letter will simply exacerbate depression and suicide thoughts in youngsters like my daughter by further excluding them from medical care.

Trans kids already face many obstacles. Axing them for political gain is inhumane. A brand of unfathomable brutality, supposedly.

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