Image: Dell’s Children Medical Centre on Facebook
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched an investigation into Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin after an undercover video released by far-right activist organization Project Veritas purportedly showed a member of staff discussing gender-affirming therapy for minors.
Paxton has described the therapy as “child abuse” and stated that he is looking into the practices at the hospital related to transgender youth. Although providing gender-affirming therapy to adolescents is not explicitly illegal in Texas, the attorney general’s office released a non-binding legal opinion in 2022 labeling such care as “child abuse.” The opinion gave Texas Governor Greg Abbott the cover he needed to issue an order to investigate the homes of transgender youngsters, which was later stopped by a court injunction. However, Paxton and Abbott have continued to harass trans families, with Paxton issuing a directive to discover the identities of everyone requesting a change of gender marker from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Texas legislature is currently pushing to outlaw gender-affirming care for kids, with Paxton’s latest directive coming in the same week that hundreds of people protested against Senate Bill 14, which seeks to outlaw the therapy. Medical organizations such as the AMA, APA, WPATH, and AAP advocate for gender-affirming care for transgender children and adolescents. However, Paxton has criticized these organizations and advocates, stating that they “appear willing to sacrifice the long-term health of American children, all in service to the increasingly dangerous fad of ‘transgender’ extremism.” He also sued the Biden administration in December over a federal regulation against LGBTQ+ discrimination in the adoption industry, known as the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Discrimination legislation.
The controversy surrounding gender-affirming therapy for transgender youth has been ongoing, with some arguing that it can cause harm, while others argue that it is an essential and life-saving treatment. Gender-affirming therapy can include allowing young children to dress and wear clothing according to their gender, reversible puberty blockers for older children, hormone replacement treatment for teenagers aged 13 and over, and, in some cases, breast reduction surgery. Major medical organizations have advocated for gender-affirming care, stating that it is a safe and effective treatment that can reduce the lifetime risk of suicide among transgender individuals.
The debate over gender-affirming therapy for transgender youth is complex, with valid arguments on both sides. However, it is essential to recognize that transgender individuals, including children and adolescents, deserve access to safe and effective healthcare that aligns with their gender identity. The demonization of gender-affirming therapy by Paxton and other politicians harms transgender youth and perpetuates harmful stereotypes and misinformation about transgender individuals. It is essential to listen to medical experts and advocates for transgender rights and to prioritize the health and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.