Commentary: Greg Abbott’s transgender witch hunt is an embarrassment for Texas | Opinion

“I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas.”

On Tuesday, February 22, Governor Greg Abbott issued a declaration at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services saying those who do not report gender-affirming care for transgender youth will be subject to “criminal penalties.”

Abbott bases this letter on a recent legal opinion from the office of state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued that labeling common gender-affirming medical procedures that could result in sterilization or delayed puberty was child abuse. Paxton’s opinion is not legally binding, being his own conclusions to questions posed by State Rep. Matt Krause and not the conclusions of a court case or legislative session, but you wouldn’t know that. given Abbott’s orders. Trying to push major changes in state policy on the basis of a single unsubstantiated opinion runs counter to our legal and democratic processes. Abbott makes the rules as they go.

Prosecutors for some of Largest Counties in Texas openly defied Abbott’s decree. Lawyers across the state took issue with the letter, calling it “misrepresentation of texas law.” No formal law has been made and one wonders how, and if, this letter can be enforced. Abbott’s decision is unprecedented, which is hardly a first for the governor, ironically.

This is not unlike Abbott’s Abortion Ban, which awards bounties for reporting those who have abortions or anyone who helps and “encourages” them — medical professionals in particular. Abbott seeks to rule by mob rule and fear, passing whatever executive orders he wants regardless of legality, and letting the people of Texas pick, choose, and speak out in order to enforce them. Abbott’s abortion ban has caused Texans to flee, overwhelming clinics in neighboring states and beyond.

Abbott’s vision of Texas is not governed by the rule of law, but where the health of Texas women and children are used as political pawns as he turns Texan against Texan.

It’s no coincidence that Abbott released the letter the day before former ERCOT chief Bill Magness was due to testify in court about power outages during last year’s winter storm. . And my boy, he testified. Magness said, under oath, that Abbott ordered him to charge homeowners the maximum price for electricity during the February 2021 snowpocalypse, according to the Houston Chronicle.

It seems pretty obvious what is going on. On the eve of the Republican gubernatorial primary, Abbott saw the news as potentially damaging in the eyes of his constituents. To cover up this possible revelation, he issued an unprecedented, baseless and title-worthy executive order that is far less offensive to his conservative base, if not mobilizing.

Conservatives have used transgender rights issues as a way to sow fear and distract from past failures of conservative leadership. Abbott’s letter is the latest action on trans youth in recent years, after a failed bathroom bill and trans athletes forbidden to compete in schools.

Abbott again showed his willingness to throw children and their parents under the bus, using them as cannon fodder and targets to advance his political agenda.

Abbott has repeatedly confused gender confirmation with “genital mutilation.” Experts disagree and genital reconstructive surgery in minors is rare anyway. The goal of gender-affirming treatments is to put a person in the best possible position to make informed choices about their health care when they reach legal age.

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that hormone blockers and other gender-affirming care reduced depression rates by 60% and suicidality by 73% in young people aged 13-21. Gender-affirming care undoubtedly saves lives – study after study corroborates this fact.

the American Psychological Associationthe American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have all released statements supporting gender-affirming care and denouncing any attempts by states to block or limit trans health care among young people.

Gender-affirming care is the opposite of abuse.

On trans issues, a lot of people like to pretend to talk about biology and science. But, it’s important to consider that the last time they learned about this subject may have been their freshman biology class in the 1970s. We already know how they feel about reading, so that’s to be expected.

Contrary to their understanding, countless cultures around the world and throughout history to validate the existence of people who today would be called trans. Same biological sex is more complicated and expansive than the layman realizes.

But, Abbott is not the majority opinion. Texans are just getting more favorable trans people over time. Three-quarters of Texans object to denying services to LGBTQ+ people.

Texas is in competition, a partnership of more than 1,400 companies, also spoke out against the letter. In addition to being a senior vice president at Dell, Eric Day. Abbott is making Texas, a state that once boasted of being business-friendly, less and less attractive to them by the day.

To be frank, politics has rarely been so stupid and negligent towards the people and processes the law is meant to protect. Abbott has shown time and time again that the bar can always be lowered.

Trans people already face discrimination and challenges in health care and that is extremely stressful, to say the least, so that trans people see their existence constantly debated and criminalized. Adding more hostility and overt persecution to the mix blatantly invites harm to young people and their families.

To top it off, Abbott’s administration only sticks to its values ​​when it suits them.

Abbott was strongly against the government punishing individuals for their medical decisions in response to President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate.

“Texans and Americans have learned and mastered safe practices to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID[-19]and don’t need the government telling them how to do it,” said one Abbott’s administration spokesman said.

Young trans people and their families know better than anyone, especially Greg Abbott, how to manage their health care.

Zachary Freeman is a senior anthropologist and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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