January 22, 2021
In the newest attempt to erode support for equal rights in Texas, Representative Steve Toth and Senator Charles Perry are directly targeting transgender youth, putting them under a harmful spotlight in two pieces of dangerous legislation.
Toth’s bill, HB 68, would ban transgender youth from accessing affirming, best practice healthcare by reclassifying it as child abuse. For transgender youth who are insistent, consistent, and persistent about their gender identity, parents, guardians and medical experts work together to provide age-appropriate care. This is a thoughtful and lengthy process that is personal and private to each family. Classifying best practice medical care as child abuse sets a dangerous precedent for all Texans by allowing non-expert lawmakers to criminalize care that is live-saving and consistent with prevailing medical standards.
Perry’s bill, SB 373, would require K-12 youth to participate in sports according to the gender on their birth certificate, essentially banning transgender youth from participating in line with their gender identity. Attacking trans youths’ access to sports — a tactic that, like debating bathrooms, has no basis in real-world facts — is another attempt to isolate vulnerable trans kids, barring them from the friendship, education, teamwork, and health benefits of playing a sport.
Every year, opponents of equality in state legislatures present the public with a new, fabricated “emergency” related to LGBTQ+ people. These policies are designed to create fear, spread misinformation about who LGBTQ+ people are, and erode the steady and rising support for laws and policies, like nondiscrimination, that give LGBTQ+ people the opportunities to participate fully in their communities. A majority of Texans in every region, religion and major ethnic group support nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community, according to polling by the Public Religion Research Institute.
You can help us stop these attacks on transgender youth and end the gross misinformation about transgender people by advocating during this legislative session. Being a kid is hard enough. Lawmakers claim these bills are designed to protect vulnerable youth, but they do just the opposite. We don’t need politicians making it even harder for kids who are transgender, denying them best practice medical care and singling them out for increased bullying and harassment.
While this session may look different than others, there are still many ways you can participate and ensure that your voice is heard. Contacting legislators, virtually mobilizing the community, providing testimony (including written), and helping people call decision-makers at the legislature are all ways you can get involved.
We’ll walk you through every step of the way. Together we can stop these bills in their tracks and create a Texas with full and lived equality for all of us.