Greg Abbott's Attack on Trans Youth’s Families

by Sabine Waldeck
March 3rd, 2022

On February 22nd, Governor of Texas, Greg Abbot wrote a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). In the letter he wrote that providing gender confirming treatments for transgender kids should be considered “child abuse” under current Texas state law.

Abott addressed the commissioner masters of the DFPS telling them to launch investigations into any instances where parents are permitting their trans children to get treatments that help with gender confirmaiton, stating that “that a number of so-called “sex change” procedures constitute child abuse under existing Texas law.”

The letter came as a response to an opinion writing the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton wrote stating that puberty suppressing drugs and other medical treatments commonly given to trans youths should be looked into as child abuse.

Not only did Abbott tell DFPS to investigate medical treatments as child abuse but also wrote in the letter that all professionals who work with children to should report any instance of these procedures being conducted. “Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse. There are similar reporting requirements and criminal penalties for members of the general public,” wrote Abbott.

As of now the letter does not hold any legal weight. As in, it is not required under law for people to start investigating or reporting trans kids. Abbott is stating that based on current Texas state laws it should require these procedures to be investigated as “child abuse,” but it is actually not a law to do so.

However, the letter still has very real ramifications.

From this letter, many professionals who work with children in Texas will start to report treatments many trans youths rely on to feel comfortable in their bodies as child abuse. This will lead to investigations into their families solely for trying to affirm their gender.

This letter will instill fear into any families with trans children.

If trans kids parents will be investigated for child abuse by going to the doctor, to school, and other spaces where professionals were told to report them, we are entering extremely dangerous territory for our trans youth.

It is currently unclear if DFPS will have to adhere to Abbotts demands and investigate these families without passing legislation that says they have to. As of right now they are not legally obligated to do so, but not sure how that will change in the future.