On Monday, legislation that would protect children from life-altering surgeries was heard in a Senate committee.
State Sens. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) and Charles Perry (R–Lubbock) proposed Senate Bills 1311 and 1646, respectively, with both effectively banning gender transitioning surgeries and procedures on minors. While Hall’s bill would punish insurance companies for covering the procedures, Perry’s would authorize Child Protective Services to take the child from the home and classify the parents as child abusers.
Hall pointed out that current laws do not let those under 18 smoke, drink, or even get tattoos, but do allow them to have life-altering surgeries.
Among those testifying for the bill was Jeff Younger, a father fighting to stop his ex-wife from subjecting his son to genital mutilation surgery.
While courts confirmed his son is a boy, schools and psychologists still call him a girl. Younger then cited a study demonstrating that, if left alone, 80-90 percent of children experiencing gender dysphoria will revert to their biological sex.
He also pointed out that female genital mutilation is already illegal in Texas, and the same protection should be extended to boys.
Dr. Alan Hopewell, a senior clinical nurse oncologist in Texas, and president of Texas Psychological Association in 2004, also stated his concerns with child gender modification.
Dr. Hopewell detailed that he was only allowed to do affirmative care for gender dysphoria, which he considered odd since it is not allowed on most mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. Overall, he does not believe it is ethical, and he stated many therapists do affirmative care out of fear of losing their jobs. Hopewell explained that children should not make decisions that are life-altering as they don’t have a fully developed frontal cortex, the rational part of the brain.
Perry’s similar bill, SB 1646, was then discussed. Perry explained his proposal would protect those without the ability to understand what’s being done to them, adding the bill would protect “all God’s children.”
“We make laws to protect our children every day,” Perry explained, adding this would merely be an extension of those laws and that to expose them to these procedures earlier would “rob them of their innocence.”
Younger testified a second time, speaking in favor of both Hall and Perry’s bills, adding Perry was right to say the procedure is child abuse. He states that Texas medical statutes require him to pay “medical child support” to chemically castrate his son, forcing him to pay for child abuse. Under Perry’s bill, the requirement would be abolished.
Dr. Kevin E. Stewart, representing the Austin Institute For Family and Culture, also testified in favor of the bill, pointing out studies that affirm child gender modifications are sloppily done and have little controls. Even so, he mentioned pro-child gender modification studies show an increase in hospitalizations for youth who undergo the procedure, adding that the required medications often lead to a lifetime of medical complications. He stated that profit motive often clouds people’s judgment.
Jill Glover, a Texas GOP official with a master’s degree in psychology, detailed her work as a counselor for both children and adults. She often encountered children who did not match their stereotypical sex, with girls being “tomboys” and boys being “sensitive.” She blamed the current push for child gender modification on “social contagion,” with the political fad rising from surgeons looking for profit and leftist LGBT advocates.
The two bills were not without detractors. Port Aransas psychologist Andrew Reichert spoke against the bills, saying that Perry’s bill was a state intrusion of children and family individual medical rights, claiming high suicide rates of trans children are due to societal pressure and transphobia.
Donning a shirt that read “The future is non-binary” and stating her pronouns as “they/them,” Indigo Giles testified against the bill, saying she realized she was non-binary at age 14 and complained that her body didn’t match her feelings. After receiving surgery, she said she was in tears with happiness at her “true” self. She claims that the state should not interfere between a patient and medical “professionals.”
After hours of testimony, both bills were left pending. Similar legislation is slated to be heard in the House Committee on Public Health on Wednesday.