Texas is actively becoming a hellscape for transgender, non-binary, and intersex youth seeking gender-affirming care. This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed state agencies to investigate the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children, days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion letter calling life-saving healthcare for trans kids “child abuse.” Under this claim, Abbott said that “medical professionals,” “teachers,” and “the general public” should report the parents of any youth who receives puberty-blockers or gender-affirming surgeries under existing law that “provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse.” These claims are being refuted and directly opposed by the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health. There has been ample evidence that gender-affirming care (including social transition, name and gender changes, as well as medical transition) for gender-diverse young people saves lives.
This moment is eerily reminiscent of last year’s abortion ban where policing was turned over to the hands of anyone and everyone living in the state. This directive is one of many of Texas officials’ latest attempts to limit and/or ban gender-affirming care and support for trans youth. Texas is one of many states across the US attempting to restrict life-saving healthcare for transgender young people, alongside laws banning bathroom access and participation in sports. Last year in more than 20 states, bills prohibiting health care for trans youth were introduced, with both Arkansas and Tennessee signing them into law. Out of the 30 states to introduce measures limiting trans athletes last year, nine states enacted the legislation into law.
At FOLX, we vehemently oppose the idea that life-saving healthcare for transgender young people is child abuse. Medical decisions should be left to patients, parents, and medical providers, not to politicians or lawmakers vying for power or popularity. Bodily autonomy is a necessary human right, no matter what. We know that trans youth are the key to our future. To be a successful parent is to listen to your kid, believe them, and love them unconditionally. Parents who recognize and listen to their transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse children are the superheroes of this century.
To all the parents out who are being criminalized for keeping their kids safe, alive, and thriving— we see you. We see your efforts in trying to keep your child alive, and there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. To all the transgender and gender-diverse kids out, there is nothing wrong with you–far from it–you are beautiful and perfect as you are. To all of the healthcare providers who are working tirelessly to support youth and their families by providing affirming medical care, we are right alongside you and will never back down from supporting evidence-based medical care for our youth. We created this resource guide for anyone who wants to help protect trans youth, and for the trans young people and their parents living in Texas and any other of the number of states across the country where anti-trans legislation is being pushed.
- Trans Texas
The Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) works to uplift the voices of trans people living in the state of Texas. They help provide LGBTQI+ toolkits for students to know their rights, and for parents and teachers who want to seek full equality and dignity for LGBTQ+ students in Texas schools. They also provide Back to School guides to help fight misinformation and make sure that trans youth, parents of trans kids, and supportive teachers are protected and supported in schools. You can donate to TENT here. You can also check out Equality Texas and get involved in the political actions, education, and community organizing they are doing.
- Organización Latina de Trans en Texas
Organización Latina de Trans en Texas in a non-profit organization in Texas that is run by Anandrea Molina, a transgender Latinx womxn. You can follow her on Instagram @trans_texas or donate here to support this life-changing work for the trans-Latinx folks living in Texas.
allgo is a non-profit organization for Queer People of Color in Texas that provides social justice initiatives, cultural arts, and emphasized health and wellness. They provide Laughter Yoga and breathwork sessions, cultural arts events, virtual film screenings, community healing, and nature series both online and in-person in Austin, TX. You can donate to allgo here or click here to find out other ways to get involved. They also have their own resource list for how to build community during COVID.
- Trans Pride Initiative
Trans Pride Initiative is a group in Dallas that works to advocate for trans and queer people in housing, healthcare, and the criminal justice system at large. They have resources on guerilla marketing campaigns for trans restroom rights, templates, and guidance for how to file for a name, gender and birth certificate correction, and healthcare empowerment projects. They have previously worked to challenge the constitutionality of restrictions of name changes for previously incarcerated trans people. You can help support their work here.
- Fiesta Youth in San Antonio
is an LGBTQ+ youth organization in San Antonio that holds support groups for young people aged 12-18 and 18-22, alongside bi-monthly meetings for parents of queer and trans youth. They put on regular programming such as film screenings of Paris is Burning, open mic nights, arts & crafts events, and wellness check-ins. They also have open applications for college scholarships available for Fiesta youth until April 9th, 2022. Donate to support the organization here.
- Black Trans Texas Connection
Black Trans Texas Connection is a grassroots organization in Texas that supports Black trans women and femmes experiencing displacement. They offer emergency relief grants, direct support services, as well as creative, community, and economic resilience programs at a safe house for black trans women to be sheltered called The Thrive House. You can donate to support their efforts here.
- Thrive Youth Center in San Antonio and Tony’s Place Houston
The Thrive Youth Center is a non-profit that serves queer and trans youth experiencing homelessness in San Antonio mental health care, rapid re-housing, career counseling, and life skills. You can donate here. To support queer young people in Houston who are currently experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity, or food insecurity check out Tony’s Place Houston.
- Out Youth
Out Youth is an incredible organization that has been helping LGBTQIA+ youth, young adults, and their families across central Texas for over 30 years. They have legal resources, counseling, and information for parents and families of transgender and non-binary youth, including information on how to create a “safe folder” in case a false report is made to Child Protective Services.
- The Afiya Center
The Afiya Center is centering the lives of Black women and girls with trans history through reproductive justice, abortion access, HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support groups. They are doing life-changing work in and across Texas to help support the livelihood and wellbeing of Black womxn and girls. Donate and support them here.
- Esperanza Center
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is an incredible community resource center by and for queer Latinas in San Antonio. Esperanza was founded in 1987 and has been fighting for peace and justice for queer and trans people of color in San Antonio for the last 35 years. You can donate to Esperanza here.
If you are a transgender young person living in Texas, please visit TxTransKids.org. For those who need more resources as a trans person living in Texas, please visit the Texas Transgender Alliance Resource Guide. For those living outside of Texas who need mental health resources, please see Transgender Health Consulting’s list of mental health providers. For legal advice please contact Lambda Legal.