Human Rights Campaign: Gov. Abbott “Continuing His Crusade to Harm Transgender and Non-Binary Texans”

by HRC Staff

Austin, Texas — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — denounced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for saying today that he will try to ban transgender college athletes from playing sports consistent with their gender identity.

Human Rights Campaign Texas Organizing and Coalitions Lead Preston Knight issued the following statement today:

“Governor Abbott is continuing his crusade to harm transgender and non-binary Texans, especially our trans youth who have faced the bulk of these legislative attacks. Gov. Abbott has already instigated a witch hunt against families simply for supporting their trans kids and directing the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate them as child abusers.. He is once again using his bully pulpit to do just that - bully. This time, he’s threatening to force colleges to discriminate against their athletes, putting them in peril of losing major sporting events as well as setting them up to be in violation of federal civil rights law. All student athletes deserve the chance to pursue the sports they love, following the rules, all while knowing that they are valued and respected for who they are. Gov. Abbott’s comments today mark the latest in his desperate, pathetic attempts to demonize and ostracize LGBTQ+ people. He will not succeed.”

Preston Knight, Human Rights Campaign Texas Organizing and Coalitions Lead

Governor Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have launched almost unprecedented attacks on transgender and non-binary Texans – an already vulnerable group. This legislative session, we are tracking more than 75 bills in Texas, and opposing more than fifty that range from curriculum censorship, bans on drag performance, bans on age-appropriate, best practice care for transgender youth, religious refusal by medical professionals, and many more.

In 2022, Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton took unprecedented steps to prevent transgender youth from accessing best-practice, age-appropriate, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care, in opposition to the recommendations of every major medical and mental health organization in the country — all of whom affirm the importance of gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people. They directed Texas’s Department of Family and Protective Services to consider best-practice, age-appropriate, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abuse. This followed the release of a legal opinion by Attorney General Paxton - which was not legally binding - that opined the same. These unprecedented efforts are a craven, politically motivated attempt to criminalize healthcare decisions made between parents, medical experts, and transgender youth - and they’re currently being challenged in court.

In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in state houses across the country introduced a record 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022. These bills are not solving problems Texans face on a daily basis. They’re crafted with the harmful goal of seeking to block LGBTQ+ Texans’ access to life-saving medical care; our right to make choices about our own bodies; our right to dignity; and frankly, our right to exist. The Human Rights Campaign is dedicated and invested in Texas, with staff on the ground, working with in-state partners to defeat this legislation and protect the lives of LGBTQ+ Texans.

Nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias and the last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, especially Black transgender women, we have seen since we began tracking fatal violence against the community. Reports of violence and intimidation against LGBTQ+ people have been making news across the country. Finally, anti-LGBTQ+ stigma also drives alarmingly high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, but LGBTQ+ youth who have at least one accepting adult in their life were 40% less likely to attempt suicide.

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