Texas Senate approves legislation banning treatment options for transgender children

The Texas Senate approved legislation that bans treatment options for transgender children.

"I think for many folks, it feels like their worst nightmare is coming true," Human Rights Campaign Senior Counsel and State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley said.

The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 14 filed by Senator Donna Champbell of New Braunfels. It impacts the state’s doctors and the transgender minors they may treat. It prohibits medical professionals from providing puberty-inhibiting drugs, cross sex hormones, and surgical interventions to children under 18 for the purpose of altering a child’s biological characteristics. 

Senate Bill 14 also requires the Texas Medical Board to revoke the license of a physician who does so and prohibits the use of public funds to provide such care.

Oakley said this bill is discriminatory against transgender individuals.

"We are really disappointed on behalf of the many transgender folks who live in the state of Texas who will not be able to access gender-affirming care because of this law," Oakley said.

James Wesolek, Republican Party of Texas Communications Director, said in a statement, "Children who are not old enough to buy cough syrup or watch an R-rated movie are not old enough to consent to sex changes that will mutilate them for life.

Oakley said that doesn’t happen.

"Most trans kids, most kids who end up ultimately receiving gender-affirming care when they are old enough to do so, most of them know about their gender identity at a very young age and express it at a very young age and gender-affirming care for, for kids at that very young age is not medical, it's completely social," Oakley said.

Senators also voted to remove an amendment, so some Texas children cannot finish their gender-affirming treatments they’ve already started.

"That language was at least a small gesture to show people that their medical care wasn't literally going to be ripped out from underneath them. Having that provision be gone, I think only emphasizes the cruelty of the measure," Oakley said.

Wesolek said in a statement, "Removing the amendment allows the bill to protect all Texas children from gender modification procedures while still allowing doctors to properly wean or taper off those currently receiving treatment."

The legislation now moves to the Texas House of Representatives for debate.