AUSTIN, Texas — In a closed-door, last-minute meeting, the Texas House Public Health Committee voted today to advance House Bill 1686 and its companion Senate Bill 14, which will ban evidence-based, life-saving health care for transgender adolescents in Texas.
Texas legislators have assembled a slate of 140 invasive bills that spy on our teachers, pry into our medical decisions, and dictate our brunch entertainment. But the focus, evidenced by political platforms that disavow the existence of transgender people and the volume of bills against them, has been young Texans' access to health care. HB 1686 and SB 14 ban puberty blockers and hormone therapy, which have been used and proven to treat gender dysphoria for decades. Rather than listening to the hundreds of courageous trans people who have shared their stories of how this care is necessary, life-saving, and affirming, lawmakers have decided to cave to national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations like the Heritage Foundation and Council for National Policy, their local cronies and cherry-picked stories of what happens when bad physicians do not follow best-practice standards of care.
The following quote can be attributed to Emmett Schelling (he/him), Executive Director, Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)
“Trans children are not political punching bags. Everyone deserves access to comprehensive and competent healthcare informed by accredited medical professionals. These continuous attacks on healthcare serve as an example of political overstepping in order to dictate the personal and private medical decisions of Texans. We have been fighting transphobic attacks from Texas legislators for years and will continue to show up as a united community to protect our right to liberty and personal freedoms. We are Trans Texas and we aren’t afraid of a fight.”
The following quote can be attributed to Ricardo Martinez (he/him), CEO at Equality Texas:
“Over 460 Texans signed up to speak during the public hearing for HB 1686. Nearly 3,000 people made sacrifices to travel to the Capitol and formally register their opposition to this bill. Only 97 registered in support. Anti-equality lawmakers keep saying they care about protecting kids, parental rights, safety, and healthcare – for everyone but LGBTQ+ Texans. Lawmakers have a responsibility to represent us all, not just some. Knowingly advancing harmful legislation hurts all of our communities and steals happy futures from transgender kids and adults alike.”
The following quote can be attributed to Ash Hall (they/them), Policy & Advocacy Strategist at the ACLU of Texas:
“These bills are a cruel and unconstitutional attack on transgender youth and an attempt to undermine the rights of parents and medical providers to make age-appropriate medical decisions. Signing them into law would cause harm to the very people certain politicians claim to protect. HB 1686 and SB 14 would lead to devastating outcomes in both the physical and mental health of transgender youth by denying them access to the care they need, while still allowing the same drugs and treatments to be prescribed to non-transgender youth, the very definition of discrimination. We call on the Texas House to put a stop to the onslaught of attacks against transgender Texans.”
The following quote can be attributed to Cathryn Oakley (she/her), State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
“HB 1686 and SB 14 ban medically necessary, safe, age-appropriate health care backed by decades of research and supported by the entire American medical establishment. Ill-informed politicians in Austin are interfering with the rights of Texas parents to access best-practice medical care for their children and trying to tell them how to create safe and stable homes for their kids. Enough is enough. We will continue to fight and make our voices heard because all Texans deserve access to the health care they need.”
The following quote can be attributed to Sasha Buchert (she/her), Director, Nonbinary and Transgender Rights Project, Lambda Legal:
“Texas legislators seemingly cannot move fast enough to target transgender youth in the state. These cruel and hateful bills would serve only to further harm and stigmatize trans youth, to subject them to increased harassment and abuse, and to interfere in a relationship that properly lies with an adolescent’s parents and doctor. The harm HB 1686 and SB 14 represent and the risk they pose to transgender youth in Texas cannot be overstated, and we urge the Texas House and Senate to halt these despicable bills.”
The following quote can be attributed to Adri Pérez (they/them), Organizing Director at Texas Freedom Network:
“To deny transgender adolescents evidence-based medical care is cruel and indefensible. This is nothing more than a politically motivated decision that carries grave consequences for the transgender community. Last year, 45% of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered suicide, but when young people are affirmed in their gender identity, their risk for suicidal ideation decreases significantly. Healthcare for transgender youth and adults is lifesaving for our community, which is why every major medical and mental health organization in the United States supports best-practice gender-affirming care. We are people, not political weapons. Transgender Texans, including children, just want to live and thrive as our full selves. These bills are a violation of Texans’ rights; and an intrusion into the private decisions between loving families and doctors.”
If you or someone you know needs mental health resources or support, please visit:
—Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860 or https://www.translifeline.org
—Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
The All in for Equality Coalition will be marching to protest these cruel attacks on our community. We encourage community members and allies to join us on Saturday, April 15th starting at noon for our Queer Capitol March. https://secure.everyaction.com/rQWENhnyUESN8w7-q-tztw2
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