Center for Discovery Opposes Texas Legislature’s Attempt to Villainize Gender-Affirming Care
Center for Discovery stands opposed to the efforts to change the definition of child abuse to include gender-affirming care by Texas government officials. We join the National Association of Social Workers Texas (NASW Texas) and the Texas Counseling Association in rejecting the use of fear and false information by political leaders to discredit the robust evidence-base which documents the life-saving impact gender affirmative care has on transgender and nonbinary adolescents. Any attempts to interfere with affirming medical decisions of families with transgender youth causes harm to our community, and has been documented to increase eating disorder behaviors, self-harm and suicide in gender diverse adolescents.
Echoing Texas mental health associations, we also see these opinion statements from Texas government officials as non-binding and unethical, and we encourage Texas providers to continue to consider gender affirmative hormone therapies as lifesaving and medically necessary – not reportable as child abuse. Center for Discovery encourages parents to continue to seek medical and mental healthcare that is affirming of gender identity, and we will continue to provide evidence-based, gender-affirming eating disorder treatment nationally and throughout the state of Texas.
-On behalf of Vaughn Darst & Emmy Johnson, CFD Gender Affirmative Care Team, and Center for Discovery Leadership
If your family includes a transgender or nonbinary minor who is receiving gender-affirming medical treatments in Texas, such as puberty blockers, gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT, also referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or cross-sex hormone treatment), or surgical interventions, please review the resources below.
As the ACLU of Texas states, “Paxton’s opinion is not legally binding, and it remains up to the courts to interpret Texas laws and the Constitution. Moreover, [the Department of Family Services] cannot remove any child from their parents or guardians without a court order. No court here in Texas or anywhere in the country has ever found that gender-affirming care can be considered child abuse. The opinion released by Paxton cites highly partisan, outdated, and inaccurate information that ignores the consensus of every major medical association and the evidence-based and peer-reviewed standards of care.”
What to Know
Keep up with the latest news (Updated 03/24/22):
- On 3/21, an appeals court in Texas reinstated the injunction preventing the investigation of families with children receiving gender-affirming medical care. AG Paxton has filed a petition with the state Supreme Court to overturn the injunction. This follows when the judge in Texas halted the investigation into a family with a trans child. AG Paxton appealed and a court upheld the judge’s order. On 3/11, the judge expanded this temporary injunction to halt all investigations into families across the state. AG Paxton has said he would appeal, and claimed that by filing the appeal, the injunction was paused, and AG Paxton directed the investigations to continue. The appeals court ruling specifically stated that the injunction will be in place until litigation is resolved.
- Several District Attorneys (DAs) in Texas have announced that they will not prosecute families for child abuse based on providing gender-affirming medical care. Read statements from Harris County, and a joint statement from Dallas County, Travis County, Bexar County, Nueces County and Fort Bend County.
- The Biden Administration has put out statements opposing Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott’s moves and vowing to do what they can to protect families through the Office for Civil Rights and the Children’s Bureau.
- It seems possible that Texas may lose federal funding due to Paxton and Abbott’s statements.
- As discussed in Them, these “comprehensive memos warning that policies like Texas’ are not only ‘dangerous,’ but discriminate against trans people and violate their medical rights under U.S. law.”
- The NASW Texas, the Texas Psychological Association and the Texas Counseling Association have put out statements saying that social workers, psychologists and counselors are not required to report gender affirmative medical care as child abuse.
- Texas Children’s Hospital has halted gender affirmative medical interventions for minors as of 03/04/22.
Read the ACLU and Lambda Legal’s fact sheet on Gender Affirmative Care in Texas.
Know your legal resources through Lambda Legal’s Help Desk and the ACLU’s intake complaint form.
Check out CFD’s Gender Affirmative Care webpage and read the FAQs for Parents, Caregivers and Loved Ones.
We also want to make clear what we can and cannot do to protect your family, so that you can make informed decisions about your child’s care.
- When discussing with admissions, you will be connected to our Gender Affirmative Care Team to discuss your options. One option may be to attend programming outside of Texas.
- Our policy at CFD about mandated reporting has not changed with this guidance, and we are not directing our clinicians to report your family.
- At our outpatient (PHP and IOP) locations, you reserve the right to not to share whether your child is using any gender affirmative medical interventions.
- At our residential programs, we will work with your family to determine the best way to ensure continued access to the medical care that your child needs.
- We cannot guarantee that other families will not report your family to DFPS (Department of Child and Family Services).
- Some of our outpatient programs are in buildings with other tenants. We cannot guarantee that our neighbors will not attempt to report your family.
- Should your family be reported, we will therapeutically support your family through that process while you are in treatment with us.
Texas Support Groups
Access mental health care for yourself and your child; seek out support groups with other families with trans youth:
- Gender Spectrum’s Parents & Family Guides and School Guide and Support Groups for Parents of Gender Diverse Children & Teens (Parent/Caregiver Support Group, Fathers/Masculine-of-Center Support Group, Grandparent Support Group, Parent of Nonbinary Child/Teen Support Group, Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPOC) Support Group)
- PFLAG – Monthly support meetings for parents and loved ones; some chapters host gender-specific meetings in addition to general meetings
- Trans Families Online Support Groups – General groups and specific groups for parents of color, dads, Latinx and Spanish-speaking parents, parents of nonbinary youth, parents of children who are also neurodivergent (e.g., have autism, ADHD)
- Fighting Eating Disorders in Underrepresented Populations: A Trans+ & Intersex Collective – Online Facebook support group and monthly virtual support group for transgender, nonbinary and intersex people with eating disorders
- Gender Spectrum – Online support groups for children and teens
- Trans Lifeline Support Group Directory
National Crisis Hotlines