AUSTIN — Republican activists recently converged on the Texas Capitol to rally for protecting children from dangerous, life-altering medical procedures.
Banning child gender modification is a GOP legislative priority for Texas’ ongoing 88th Legislative Session.
On Thursday, legislators, grassroots activists, and detransitioners spoke about current legislation in the House and Senate that would ban the practice of mutilating children in a life-altering manner.
“It really looks like we will get over the finish line this session,” said GOP Legislative Priorities Chair Jill Glover.
Banning the practice has been a legislative priority for the GOP since 2020, after the nationally known child abuse case of Dallas-area boy James Younger—whose mother is transitioning him against his father’s wishes—was highlighted in 2018.
A judge recently ruled that James’ mother can move him to California and fully transition him. According to Glover, James’ “legacy is that here in Texas, we are going to protect kids like him.”
Detransitioners then explained the damage these procedures cause.
Kevin Whitt transitioned in the ’90s due to physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. He sought normalcy by becoming a woman in an attempt to flee from the male influences who had harmed him.
Whitt tried to get therapy and said his therapist “was going on and on about how I was supposed to be a woman, and so she diagnosed me with gender dysphoria and wrote me a letter that day. And that letter was to begin taking hormones. I could get top surgery [and] bottom surgery with that very letter.”
“After describing to her how I had been raped, abused, and everything, she did not care,” he explained.
He stopped taking cross-sex hormones after winding up in the emergency room due to precursors to a stroke.
“There are no treatments or anything. You can get your insurance to pay for you to transition, but there is no help for us to detransition. So, we’re just left out in the cold,” said Whitt.
Chloe Cole, another detransitioner from California, was fast-tracked into transitioning at 13 when she decided she was a boy. At 15, she had a double mastectomy.
At 16, she realized it was wrong and began detransitioning.
“I’ll never even have the choice of breastfeeding any children I may [be able] to have,” said Cole.
“I wasn’t pressured by parents or family members or anybody from school to go through this,” she explained. But with a gender dysphoria diagnosis, Cole said, “I thought that it was the only option that I had.”
Therapists told her parents that if she was “forced to go through puberty … grow into a woman,” then it would be very likely that they would have “a dead daughter.”
“I underwent that barbaric treatment as a kid, and I severely regretted it,” said Cole.
She now deals with lifelong medical consequences from the testosterone, skin grafts, and double mastectomy that she underwent. “The same people who got me into this situation are the same people who can’t help me.”
State Sen. Donna Campbell (R–New Braunfels) and State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress) are both doctors and highlighted their identical pieces of legislation (Senate Bill 14 and House Bill 1686) that would protect children from being chemically castrated by puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and from receiving these mutilative surgeries to “transition” them.
The Texas Senate passed SB 14, and the House Calendars Committee has not yet announced when it will receive a vote on the House floor.
“When a profession cannot regulate itself and is causing harm, the government must step in,” said Campbell.
“The science is on our side,” agreed Oliverson. “The only argument that they can come up with to knock down our bill is to say, ‘Well, it lowers the risk of suicide,’” which is factually inaccurate.
“They’ve got no chance of stopping this on the House floor. I’ve already got enough co-authors to pass this bill,” said Oliverson. He added that House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) has promised a vote on the House floor, and they are just waiting on the paperwork to ensure House Democrats can’t kill the bill on any points of order.
State Sen. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) and State Reps. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington), Nate Schatzline (R–Fort Worth), and Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) also attended in support of banning child gender mutilation.
Rounds of applause were given to those who assisted in creating the legislation and those advocating for banning the mutilation of children, including Texas Values, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Texas Eagle Forum, Protect Texas Kids, Mass Resistance Texas, Partners for Ethical Care, and grassroots activists from across the state.
The 88th Legislative Session ends May 29.