A hearing to determine whether children can access cross-sex hormones and gender mutilation surgeries has ended in a Travis County Court, with many awaiting the judge’s ruling.
Following Gov. Greg Abbott signing a measure to protect minors from gender mutilation surgeries, the ACLU of Texas and five families with gender-confused children filed a lawsuit to challenge Texas’ child gender mutilation ban.
Arguments began earlier this week, with plaintiffs arguing that Texas’ new law would prevent “trans youth” from receiving “life-saving care.”
“Transgender young people know who they are and shouldn’t have to go to court to fight for their right to exist,” said Brian Klosterboer, an attorney with the ACLU of Texas. “Parents, physicians, and medical experts also explained how this cruel and unconstitutional law is already causing immense and irreversible harm across our state. Transgender youth belong in Texas, and we will never stop fighting for them to thrive and be who they are.”
The law they are challenging is Senate Bill 14 by State Sen. Donna Campbell (R–New Braunfels). The measure protects children from being chemically castrated by puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and from receiving mutilative surgeries.
The lawsuit claims that individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria may become suicidal and that “risks decline when transgender people are supported and live according to their gender identity.”
On Wednesday, a gender-confused 16-year-old testified that SB 14 would cut off her supply of testosterone and cause irreparable harm. Nathan Noe—a pseudonym she uses in the lawsuit—claims that at 16, she felt uncomfortable with the body she lived in before being prescribed cross-sex hormones. Noe asserts that if the law takes effect, she and her family will be forced to take drastic measures to get her the treatment she wants.
The defense, meanwhile, refuted the claims that allowing children to access cross-sex hormones would benefit them. One of their central arguments was that putting children on cross-sex hormones can be detrimental to their health, including risks of fertility loss and a reduction of bone density.
Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist, testified that the risks of cross-sex hormones outweigh the benefits, citing existing research showing there is limited evidence to prove there are benefits to children accessing these life-altering drugs.
Dr. Clifford Hopewell, a North Texas neuropsychologist and former president of the Texas Psychological Association, told the court that an adolescent’s brain is not fully developed, resulting in them not acknowledging multiple risks that come with the drugs.
However, while the ACLU and other plaintiffs remain steadfast in their mission to allow children to access these procedures, others are calling out the ACLU for defending and encouraging child gender mutilation.
Brady Gray, president of Texas Family Project, told Texas Scorecard that what the ACLU is defending is “evil.”
“While detransitioners in Texas are fighting to restore their bodies and hold accountable those responsible for butchering them, the ACLU is attempting to overturn a law and create more victims,” said Gray. “To prescribe a child dangerous and irreversible hormone blockers or worse, permanently alter their bodies is purely evil.”
State Rep. Nate Schatzline (R– Fort Worth) called out the ACLU in a post on X, calling their efforts “disgusting.”
— Nate Schatzline (@NateSchatzline) August 16, 2023
Republican State Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, who co-authored the legislation, said he is confident the judge will rule in favor of the ban taking effect.
I am proud to be a Joint Author of Senate Bill 14, which will end the harmful and irreversible effects of child gender modification.
Two outstanding doctors wrote this bill with great attention and care, and I am confident the law will stand. #txlege @DonnaCampbellTX… pic.twitter.com/0QeYx3ExID
— Senator Bryan Hughes (@SenBryanHughes) August 17, 2023
The law is set to go into effect on September 1.