Texas has become the 18th state to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth.

Over the last few years, the state’s Republican governor Greg Abbott and his political allies have made it their mission to attack the rights of trans people. 

Back in February 2022, Attorney General Ken Paxton released an official opinion denouncing gender-affirming care. He also said that the life-saving treatments should be considered “child abuse”.

Shortly after his harmful statement, Abbott released his own transphobic letter – which ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to start investigations into parents of trans youth.

In addition to the terrifying directives – which were halted due to a slew of lawsuits from LGBTQ+ activists – workplace protections for trans and non-binary people have also been targeted. 

Now Abbott and the state’s conservative lawmakers have taken another step in their crusade against trans people.

On 2 June, the 65-year-old governor signed Senate Bill 14 into law, which bans gender-affirming care for trans youth. 

Under the legislation – which passed in May – trans individuals under the age of 18 will no longer be able to receive puberty blockers or hormone therapy treatments. 

Medical providers have also been banned from conducting gender-affirming surgeries, despite the procedures rarely being performed on patients under the age of 18.

If a doctor or health care provider violates the archaic law, their medical license can possibly be revoked. 

Lastly, the restrictive legislation implements a very small exception for some trans youth. 

If an individual started their gender-affirming care before 1 June 2023 and undergone 12 or more sessions of mental health counselling or psychotherapy for at least six months, they can continue their treatment. 

However the exempted patients will be forced to “wean off the prescription drug over a period of time.” 

Shortly after Abbott signed the bill into law, LGBTQ+ activists and organizations slammed the government official for jeopardizing the lives of trans youth. 

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Transgender Law Center announced that they would be suing the state.

“They are hellbent on joining the growing roster of states determined to jeopardize the health and lives of transgender youth, in direct opposition to the overwhelming body of scientific and medical evidence supporting this care as appropriate and necessary,” they said. 

“Transgender youth in Texas deserve the support and care necessary to give them the same chance to thrive as their peers. Medically necessary health care is a critical part of helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves.” 

The executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas echoed similar sentiments in a statement to The Texas Tribune. 

“Cruelty has always been the point. It’s not shocking that this governor would sign SB14 right at the beginning of Pride [Month]; however this will not stop trans people from continuing to exist with authenticity – as we always have,” they said.

Texas’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth will go into effect on 1 September.