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Texas Legislature on Gender Affirmative Care

Center for Discovery Opposes Texas Legislature’s Attempt to Villainize Gender-Affirming Care

Our Statement:

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 The opinion released by Paxton cites highly partisan, outdated, and inaccurate information that ignores the consensus of every major medical association and the evidence-based and peer-reviewed standards of care.”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.

Legal Options

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.

Ways to Protect Your Family

  • Read Equality Texas’s guidelines on what to do if DFPS contacts you.
  • Speak to your child. They are likely feeling frightened, and perhaps hurt, angry, hopeless or any other emotion. Provide emotional support and reassurance.
  • Consider creating a safe folder. This is a folder of all the information you have about your child’s trans identity and care. Keep one copy of this folder in your home and one copy somewhere else, to protect against fire/flood/etc. In this folder, include:
  1. A letter from your pediatrician/general practitioner confirming your child’s gender identity.
  2. A letter from your child’s therapist/counselor confirming your child’s gender identity and confirming the stability of your family.
  3. A letter from any other healthcare professionals that your child is involved with confirming your child’s gender identity.
  4. Letters from at least three (3) friends, family members or your pastor/minister that confirm your child’s atypical gender behaviors and testimony of your parenting abilities. Letters should state how they know you, the length of time they have known you and the pattern of atypical gender behaviors that they have witnessed with your child, along with current contact information for the writer.
  5. Drawings or writings from your child that display their gender identity. (Example: Natal males drawing themselves as princesses or natal females drawing themselves as soldiers.)
  6. Videos or snapshots of your child displaying atypical gender behaviors. (Chronological order; new pictures added every six months or more frequently as significant developmental changes happen for the child.)
  7. Legal documents. (Copy of birth certificate, passports, social security cards and name change documents if applicable.)
  8. Home study documenting family stability (if available).
  9. State Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal Information/Analysis (searches Child Abuse Central Index) for parents (if available; from Trans Youth Family Allies).

Texas Support Groups

Access mental health care for yourself and your child; seek out support groups with other families with trans youth:

National Resources

National Crisis Hotlines

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