They’re going after kids.
December 4, 2019
Rachel Gonzales has spent the last two years battling Texas lawmakers to protect her kid. She first stepped foot in the statehouse in 2017, to testify against a bill that would bar her 7-year-old, transgender daughter from using the girl’s bathroom. Next came an effort to stop a bill to prohibit family courts from using a parent’s affirmation (or lack thereof) of a child’s transgender identity as a consideration in custody hearings.
Both bills eventually died, but Gonzales is now gearing up for yet another fight. This fall, two Republican lawmakers in the state vowed to introduce legislation barring trans kids from receiving certain gender-affirming health care and criminalizing parents who allow their children to transition.
And Texas isn’t the only place where conservatives are trying to make it harder for trans kids to live in accordance with their gender identity. In November, a Republican representative in South Carolina introduced legislation that would prohibit “gender reassignment medical treatment” for people under the age of 18. Doctors who provide such care would be professionally sanctioned and could potentially lose their medical license. A bill that is being drafted in Georgia would make it a felony for medical professionals to aid in a minor’s gender transition. A lawmaker in Kentucky said in a public Facebook post that she is also at work on a similar bill.
“I really wish that our politicians would stop using young children for their political gain,” Gonzales says. “It’s so frightening to have the people that are supposed to be protecting all kids across the state to be instead picking and choosing who they want to protect and targeting the ones that they don’t.”
All of the bills were spurred by the sensationalized story of a Texas custody battle between two parents with vastly different views on gender identity. The case involved a 7-year-old kid who, according to reports, had been identifying as a transgender girl for years. Her father claimed the feminine gender identity was being forced on the child by her mother, and refused to help cover the costs of therapy or any gender-affirming care. Earlier this year, he made pleas at the state capitol and on several social media pages, claiming his child was being used as a pawn in some socially progressive scheme to revoke his parental rights.
The Daily Caller first picked up the story about the custody fight from a local news website run by a former Republican state senator. Then Fox News and conservative pundits like Matt Walsh joined in the fray. Some warned of “chemical castration,” even though the actual custody dispute revolved around social transitioning—affirming the person’s gender identity by using their chosen name and pronouns—which involves no medical interventions. They published video and photos of the child, supposedly proving their point. Soon, the story had been picked up by Donald Trump Jr.