Human Rights Campaign Condemns Texas Senate for Passing Gender Affirming Care Ban

by Laurel Powell

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Texas Senate for passing Senate Bill 14, an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that would ban age appropriate medically necessary care for transgender youth under the age of 18 by prohibiting medical professionals from providing care and prohibiting public money from being spent on gender affirming care, measures that would impact insurance of coverage.

These bills are part of an aggressive ongoing effort in the Texas legislature to target LGTBQ+ equality, and especially the rights of transgender children and the people who love them. A companion bill, HB 1686, was heard in the Texas Public Health Committee on Monday and remains pending. At both the Senate State Affairs Committee and House Public Health Committee hearings, opponents of these bills far outnumbered those in favor: 203 to 29 in the Senate, and 2810 to 95 in the House. If HB 1686 reaches the House floor, it is likely to pass because 77 House Republicans have signed on as co-authors.

Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may一in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents一prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment.

SB 14 bans medically necessary, safe, age-appropriate health care that’s backed by decades of research and is 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 until all Texans have access to the health care they deserve.

Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel


Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.

  • “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
  • Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.

Transgender children are not undergoing irreversible medical changes.

  • This is a fundamental misunderstanding about what transition looks like for kids.
  • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time are in the best interest of the child.
  • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
  • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
    • New name
    • New hairstyle
    • New clothing
    • None of this care is irreversible.

Being transgender is not new.

  • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
  • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
  • And very few transgender people change their mind.

ALL gender-affirming care is:

  • Age-appropriate
  • Medically necessary
  • Supported by all major medical organizations
  • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents

And in many cases, this care is lifesaving:

  • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.

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So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 470 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

This year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 110 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; eight have already become law in Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa and Georgia,
  • More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
  • More than 85 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.

In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2022 took several forms, including:

  • 80 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. 19 states now exclude transgender athletes in school sports.
  • 42 bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare. 5 states now restrict access to gender-affirming care.
  • 70 curriculum censorship bills tried to turn back the clock and restrict teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and other marginalized communities in their classrooms. 7 passed into law.

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