Austin safe, inclusive city for transgender youth & families, officials proclaim

Austin and Travis County officials made a proclamation today to declare Austin as a safe and inclusive city for transgender families and the LGBTQIA+ community. 

It comes after Governor Greg Abbott's recent directive which labels gender-affirming care as child abuse.

A news conference was held at 9 a.m. to make the declaration. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Judge Andy Brown, Austin State Representative Gina Hinojosa, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza, Travis County Attorney Delia Garza, Gin Pham with the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), and Ash Hall, TX Legislature Consultant & Non-binary Advocate were all in attendance. 

"We have a history of inclusion in our city, it's who we are. It's built into our culture, our foundation," said Mayor Adler.

"What we are seeing happening at the state level with this directive is frightening, and it is horrific," said Adler.

Advocates said Wednesday, this directive is only harming transgender youth, not saving them. ""They chose to increase the chances that our transgender children will be ripped away from families that support and love them for who they are. That to me is child abuse in a way that affirming our children could never, ever be," said LGBTQIA activist Ash Hall.

A legal battle over Abbott's directive to investigate parents of transgender kids is intensifying. Civil rights groups have sued, and the state is fighting back.

Recently a state judge blocked Texas' child protection agency from investigating the parents of a transgender teenager who received gender-affirming medical care, citing the "irreparable injury" they would likely suffer. District Judge Amy Clark Meachum's ruling does not stop the agency from opening investigations into other families in similar situations.

"It is important for me to be standing here as a non-binary transgender Texan, knowing that my city and county stand in full support of transgender youth and their families," said Hall.

"Age appropriate, gender affirming care is life-saving care," said Gin Pham, with Transgender Education Network of Texas.

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) is calling for the governor to reverse his efforts now. "With the stroke of his pen he could undo this nightmare for Texas families today," she said.

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