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Tipsheet

Texas Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Restrict Transgender Health Care for Children

AP Photo/Armando Franca

Republican lawmakers in Texas introduced legislation this week that would criminalize irreversible “gender-affirming” health care for minors and prevent children from attending drag show performances. 

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The state legislature does not begin its session until January, but lawmakers can begin to file their bills for the upcoming term this month. At least two bills introduced this week would classify transgender surgeries on children as child abuse under state law, and one would revoke liability insurance for providers of this type of care, according to NBC News.

“Gender-affirming” care encompasses hormone therapy treatments, puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery. These services are provided to people with a condition known as “gender dysphoria,” where they feel a disconnect between their biological sex and their “gender identity.” Organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association promote this type of care, even for children.

Late last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in an interview with the Daily Caller that he wanted to see state lawmakers and prosecutors crack down on children being allowed to attend drag shows. This came after a drag queen in Plano, Texas performed in front of at least one young child while singing sexually lyrics and, at one point, flashing their underwear. 

“This is grotesque, disturbing behavior. Under Texas law, local district and county attorneys are charged with taking up the mantle to protect Texas kids by prosecuting these types of totally inappropriate acts,” Paxton said.

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“What’s more, in 2023, the Texas Legislature should amend the Texas Penal Code to expressly prohibit this kind of grossly sexual conduct and empower my Office to prosecute when district and county attorneys refuse,” he added.

Earlier this year, Townhall reported how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, launched investigations into the parents of transgender minors for possible child abuse.

"Here, the answer is clear regarding so-called sex-change procedures, puberty blockers, and hormone therapies. When performed on children, these procedures are 'abuse' under Texas law. They’re illegal. And family courts, family-law government agencies, and the like must do their part to stop it," Paxton said in an interview with Townhall about the investigations. 

NBC noted that another bill filed by Texas Republicans this week would classify business that decide to host drag shows as a “sexually oriented business,” and defines a drag performer as a person who “exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth” through “clothing, makeup, or other physical markers” and performs in front of an audience.

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