Texas GOP seeks to restrict transgender healthcare and drag shows

Texas GOP seeks to restrict transgender healthcare and drag shows

Texas Republicans introduced several bills this week that target the transgender community, including at least two measures to criminalize gender-affirming care for minors and one to prevent children from attending drag shows.

Although the legislature doesn’t officially begin its next session until mid-January, Monday was the first opportunity for lawmakers to introduce their bills for the upcoming term, potentially foreshadowing the state’s political priorities for the coming year. GOP lawmakers are moving forward with an updated party platform, officially unveiled over the summer, that defines homosexuality as an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and opposes “every effort to validate transgender identity.”

At least two bills introduced this week would designate gender-affirming care for minors as child abuse under state law, and another would revoke liability insurance for providers who offer it. .

Gender affirmation care for some minors with gender dysphoria, a medical condition that involves a conflict between the sex assigned at birth and their gender identity, is considered medically necessary by a number of major accredited organizations. , including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Medical association. For minors, this care usually includes puberty blockers, which are recommended for trans youth before the onset of puberty, or hormone therapy for adolescents. According to the Endocrine Society, adolescents under the age of 18 in the United States cannot benefit from gender-affirming surgery in most cases.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton attempted this year to classify transitional care for minors as child abuse under state law. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott then called on people to report parents of transgender minors to the state if they suspect the minors are receiving gender-affirming care. Several of these investigations, however, have been stalled in court.

Another bill introduced Monday would classify any business that decides to host a drag show under the state’s statutory definition of “sex-based businesses.”

The bill, sponsored by Republican State Rep. Jared Patterson, defines a drag performer as anyone who “presents a gender identity different from the performer’s sex assigned at birth” by using “clothing, makeup or other physical markers” and “sings”. , lip syncs, dances, or performs” in front of an audience.

The current definition of “enterprises of a sexual nature” includes any place where two or more people perform naked and where alcohol is served. These businesses are bound by special limitations, including a misdemeanor charge on par with vehicle burglary for the business owner if someone under the age of 18 is allowed entry. Customers must pay an entrance fee of at least $5 to these places, according to Texas law, and sex offenders are prohibited from owning or operating such businesses.

Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and a former attorney for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said the bill’s language “defines drag as essentially any trans person who performs.”

“A trans actor in a musical song would suddenly have it ‘hanging out’ and thus result in the gambling hall being labeled a ‘sexually oriented business'”, Caraballo tweeted Tuesday.

She added: “This is one of the most sweeping bills I have ever seen that seeks to completely eliminate trans people from public life.”

The official first day of the Texas legislative session is January 23. Republicans control both the House and the Senate.

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