AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The LGBTQ+ community and allies rallied outside of the Texas Capitol Thursday morning to speak out against proposed legislation they say would be harmful to transgender Texans.
Three bills the group mentioned in particular — SB 14, SB 250 and SB 1029 — were scheduled for a hearing Thursday in the Senate State Affair Committee.
SB 14, authored by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, would prohibit physicians from giving “procedures and treatments for gender transitioning, gender reassignment” for children under the age of 18. The bill claims that such treatment includes puberty inhibiting drugs, hormone therapy and surgical interventions.
“SB 14 is all about child protection,” said Campbell during the committee hearing. “Our children need counseling and love, not blades and drugs.”
One parent, who has a transgender daughter, worries her child will not be able to continue necessary healthcare for her continued transition if SB 14 passes.
“She will be impacted, she will be harmed. Her normal childhood will evaporate,” she said at the rally.
Ricardo Martinez, the CEO of Equality Texas, said he hopes their protests will show lawmakers the faces behind the people these bills would impact.
“I think this is an incredibly urgent moment for all Texans, to come out to speak out on behalf of their neighbors, their families, their communities — because we need you,” he said.
But during the committee hearing, Campbell expressed concern of parents and doctors making life-altering decisions for their children, that their kids might regret as adults.
“Who’s taking care of the people if they decide to go backwards? Who is there for their detransitioning? Nobody,” she said.
The senator pointed to cases like that of Prisha Mosley, a woman from Michigan who has been traveling to different state legislatures to share her experience. As a teenager struggling with numerous mental health diagnoses, Mosley said she felt pressured to transition to the opposite gender. Now older, she is transitioning back to her sex assigned at birth.
“I was told that changing my gender would cure me. As an impressionable and mentally ill child, I fully believed this,” she said. “I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I am suffering from severe medical issues with which no doctors will help me and insurance covers nothing.”
Still, those opposed to the bill said these should be decisions made by parents and physicians, not the legislature.
“The overwhelming majority do not regret having the decision — the fact that they feel that they were born in the wrong gender,” said Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio.
At least eight states have enacted laws similar to SB 14 and dozens of others are considering similar legislation.
Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to launch child abuse investigations into families who give their children gender-affirming care. Six months after that decision, KXAN reported fewer than a dozen investigations had been launched and no parents lost custody of their children.