As the fight to protect children in Texas continues, some local officials across the state are continuing to promote experimental and disfiguring “transgender” operations on children.

This week, the city council in Pflugerville, a suburb of Austin, became the latest local government to approve a resolution “standing in solidarity” with efforts to continue such practices, which include chemically and surgically castrating minors.

The resolution, approved by the council in a 5-1 vote, was a retaliation against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recent legal opinion on the issue—in which he called the experiments “child abuse”—as well as Gov. Greg Abbott’s subsequent letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, ordering them to investigate such cases in the state.

The overall issue in Texas drew an international spotlight several years ago with the child abuse case of Dallas-area 9-year-old James Younger, whose mother told him he was a girl and wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing puberty blocker and cross-sex hormone drugs and eventually be castrated.

James’ case became a statewide rallying cry on the issue, with the Republican Party of Texas making it a legislative priority and more than 2 million GOP primary voters supporting a ban on the operations. However, at the state Capitol in Austin last year, top Republican lawmakers repeatedly killed the effort, and Gov. Abbott repeatedly refused to add the proposed child protection law in the Legislature’s three special sessions. (Abbott then blamed other lawmakers and passed the political hot potato to AG Paxton, who announced his 13-page formal opinion two and a half weeks ago.)

Since then, local officials have resisted and numerous Democrat district attorneys have announced they will not prosecute such cases.

“This is crap,” Pflugerville City Councilman Rudy Metayer said of Abbott and Paxton’s actions. “We should go ahead and say for a fact this is not real.”

“Always stand up to a bully if you have to. … I hate bullies, and I think this is a targeted bully move by certain politicians,” said Councilmember Ceaser Ruiz.

Ironically, Ruiz added that popular science opinions of the past were often wrong and “ha[ve] always been used to manipulate”—even though their resolution supports the popular “science” opinion of today that ““major medical healthcare organizations support gender-affirming care.”

Councilmember David Rogers was the only “no” vote.

“Surgical modifications and modification by hormones of pre-pubescent children will cause irreversible changes,” Rogers said. “And fighting with the governor and attorney general seems to me the sort of thing we elect state representatives and senators [for], not city council members. I think pushing forward on this is ill-advised.”

“There is no evidence that long-term mental health outcomes are improved or that rates of suicide are reduced by hormonal or surgical intervention,” AG Paxton wrote in his opinion.

“Specifically, the opinion concludes that certain procedures done on minors such as castration, fabrication of a ‘penis’ using tissue from other body parts, fabrication of a ‘vagina’ involving the removal of male sex organs, prescription of puberty-suppressors and infertility-inducers, and the like are all ‘abuse’ under section 261.001 of the Texas Family Code,” Paxton said, adding that medical practitioners cannot truly alter an individual’s biological identity, only “destroy a fully functioning sex organ in order to cosmetically create the illusion of a sex change.”

The Pflugerville City Council joined the Travis County Commissioners Court in approving similar recent resolutions, though officials across the state—including Houston-area Harris County commissioners and Austin city officials—have also publicly supported experimentation efforts for several years.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.