protect trans children
February 23, 2022 10:05 AM   Subscribe

(CW: transphobia throughout). Greg Abbot has officially directed Family and Protective Services to begin investigating all trans children in Texas and prosecuting their parents as child abusers. An informative (and justifiably angry) Twitter thread explaining what this means from @ErinInTheMorn. How to help.
posted by fight or flight (100 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do they give out awards now to states with the Worst Governor? Is this a competition?? Did I miss a fucking memo??

Thanks for the how to help link, my work computer blocks twitter so here's a direct to TENT.
posted by phunniemee at 10:10 AM on February 23 [35 favorites]


I wanted to keep the FPP informative, so my personal thoughts: this is horrifying and will actively contribute to the rising rates of suicide in trans youth. This also won't end in Texas. Right wing politicians and their transphobic supporters won't stop with one state. If you can help in any way, please do so.

We just want to live our lives. We want our children to be happy and safe. And we are being killed, systemically, while the world looks on.
posted by fight or flight at 10:11 AM on February 23 [76 favorites]


Thanks for the link, phunniemee. There's also the Trevor Project and the Trans Formations Project.
posted by fight or flight at 10:13 AM on February 23 [12 favorites]


This is horrifying. Thank you for this post and the links to ways to help. I have donated and hope others who are able do likewise.
posted by jedicus at 10:16 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]


This is highly alarming. Horrifying and disgusting.

What won't these people do to keep voters from realizing they're being fleeced by the corrupt and greedy people who are supposed to represent their interests?
posted by theefixedstars at 10:18 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]




In addition to the general "Texas hates children" dynamic going on here, some specific politics are that Paxton is running for Attorney General of Texas again this year. The primary is March 1 and it's not clear Paxton is even going to get the Republican nomination this time, it may go to a runoff. What better way to shore up a few more votes than appeal to a gender panic and the worst, most hateful beliefs of your electorate?

Paxton is under investigation or indictment for numerous alleged crimes. He was arrested back in 2015 for state securities fraud and has managed to defer that case for six+ years now. There's also an SEC investigation for federal securities fraud from 2016, a corruption investigation starting 2020 on allegations from his own team of bribery and abuse of office, and a professional misconduct complaint from 2020. At some point he'll stop being able to defer all these prosecutions but losing this election would certainly hasten the denouement.

tl;dr: Texas is harming children to protect their crooked Attorney General.
posted by Nelson at 10:22 AM on February 23 [57 favorites]


I'm willing to donate to the orgs mentioned, but based on a cursory glance at their web pages they seem to be focused on education on trans rights. Are they the right organizations to donate to here or are there others more directly involved in defense funds or court challenges?

ETA: that was before the post from fight or flight -- haven't looked at those yet.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:22 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


I scanned the legal docs and the Twitter thread - am I correct in understanding that TX will be investigating trans people only in terms of surgical/hormonal treatment and therapies of people under the age of 18?
posted by davidmsc at 10:29 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]




This is cruel, chilling, and then some. I wouldn't want to be a health care provide or educator in Texas, I mean, I wouldn't anyway, but this is unusually vile. My heart goes out to trans persons, kids, and parents who are subject to some particularly nasty harassment, to put it mildly. It's not like being trans is a walk in the park anyway.

As far as other bills; how is truth not a valid defense?
posted by theora55 at 10:49 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Fuck Greg Abbott and fuck anyone going along with this monstrous abuse of power. It's awful in its own right but it's also of a piece with so much other related anti-trans legislation and horseshit.
posted by cortex at 10:50 AM on February 23 [14 favorites]


I worry about, wrt the legistaltive violence against trans folks---is that if you are wealthy--you have access to gender affiriming care, and you can move to friendly places, and you are less likely to encounter children and family services. working class people are fucked.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:54 AM on February 23 [9 favorites]


Doesn't care if they starve, doesn't care if they freeze, but damn sure cares whether they postpone puberty until they're able to decide it's what they want. God I'm furious.
posted by praemunire at 10:55 AM on February 23 [33 favorites]


If anyone sees any fundraisers for helping relocate families out of Texas, please link them here.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:55 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


Are they the right organizations to donate to here or are there others more directly involved in defense funds or court challenges?

The ACLU has a very active trans rights docket. One of the reasons I haven't turned off my 45-era auto-donation yet.
posted by praemunire at 10:56 AM on February 23 [12 favorites]


working class people are fucked.

No surprise there... here's hoping that action groups and donations can at least get folks to places where the financial burden is less.

If anyone sees any fundraisers for helping relocate families out of Texas, please link them here.

I'd also like to donate to any highly targeted campaigns for immediate costs if anyone knows of any, in addition to the general and state causes.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:58 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


If anyone sees any fundraisers for helping relocate families out of Texas, please link them here.

I believe @ErinInTheMorn said she will be signal boosting any GoFundMes or anything sent to her, so you can keep an eye out there as well. The drawback is that a GFM of this nature would involve potentially outing a trans child and their family and possibly drawing harassment (or worse) onto them. It's good to want to help directly but I'd also advise donating to general and state-wide causes as well. It's unlikely that your money will end up in the wrong place.
posted by fight or flight at 11:07 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Trans Lifeline is a group I have donated to, which connects people directly within the trans community for resources and help.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:09 AM on February 23 [12 favorites]


Here's a good thread of guidance and advice from a Texas lawyer, also offering help if any Texan Mefites need it.
posted by fight or flight at 11:10 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]


Texas' attorney general is laying the groundwork to separate trans children from their families, Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic.

As with abortion, the state of Texas is encouraging neighbors and family members to inform on one another.

I am privileged to be in a position to donate to organizations that will fight for trans children and their families, and I will surely do so.
posted by virago at 11:15 AM on February 23 [13 favorites]


I'm trying to get some of these nonprofits to the big "corporate gift matching" system that all of the big companies use. TENT seems to have let their status lapse and the transformations project I can't find registered anywhere. Very frustrating, cuz I want to fund more direct action. I suppose I could route everyone to the Trevor project, but I was hoping to push the money somewhere more local.
posted by constraint at 11:19 AM on February 23


am I correct in understanding that TX will be investigating trans people only in terms of surgical/hormonal treatment and therapies of people under the age of 18?

My understanding of the letter is mandatory reporters must report any family where the child appears to be at risk of receiving any of the listed care. So if you are a Texas parent who affirms your child's gender identity you are now at a high risk of investigation by child welfare services.
posted by muddgirl at 11:23 AM on February 23 [12 favorites]


(let's be clear, no trans children are 'at risk' of receiving surgical treatment for gender identity from a licensed medical doctor. Equating hormone treatment with gender alignment surgery is a fear-mongering tactic.)
posted by muddgirl at 11:26 AM on February 23 [48 favorites]


And a reminder for those of us in Pennsylvania: we elect a new governor this year. The Republican candidates are just as bad as Abbott. Please make sure that you vote this year. The trans children of Pennsylvania are counting on us.
posted by mcduff at 11:26 AM on February 23 [34 favorites]


(let's be clear, no trans children are 'at risk' of receiving surgical treatment for gender identity from a licensed medical doctor.

Some teens in some situations have had top surgery. It's pretty rare but not unheard of. And frankly, it's a good and potentially lifesaving procedure that should be available. But it is also being used as one of the scaremongering examples.
posted by feckless at 11:29 AM on February 23 [4 favorites]


Just to underline muddgirl's comment, this will impact any gender non-conforming children and their families, cis or trans. A little AMAB cis child who happens to like wearing pink and long hair might be at risk under these guidelines. That's the level of bullshit going on here.

Equating hormone treatment with gender alignment surgery is a fear-mongering tactic

On that note, many trans children don't receive medical intervention at all. The lies about trans children are designed to make you think that all trans kids get puberty blockers/HRT. They do not. For many trans kids, the only changes are social ones (a new name, hairstyle, clothing). The medical angle is simply an excuse to stop children from being trans, to traumatise trans adults, and to prevent trans people from being comfortable or living safely and healthily.
posted by fight or flight at 11:30 AM on February 23 [57 favorites]


this is horrific and upsetting. I worry so much about my trans friends, even in the Bay Area, in California. this is CHILDREN. being targeted by hateful bigots through the government. ugh. I have donated. thanks very much for the links.
posted by supermedusa at 11:39 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


Are politicians so unmoored from reality that they don't know that actual people will be harmed by their political stunts? Or do they just not care?

Ultimately, I don't know what's in Greg Abbott's or Ken Paxton's heart, but if you do evil deeds, it probably doesn't matter. Evil doers are evil.
posted by HiddenInput at 11:46 AM on February 23 [4 favorites]


Yes I am sorry, I should have clarified child as a definition of physical maturity. I don't consider teens to be "children" and it should be obvious even to bigots that 6 year olds and 16 year olds are treated differently due to their different maturity levels. But this law makes no difference between ages and life stages because it does not actually care about the children & teens involved.
posted by muddgirl at 11:46 AM on February 23 [6 favorites]


I misspoke when I wrote that neighbors and relatives are now officially being encouraged by the state of Texas to inform on families who aren't strictly enforcing gender conformity. I'm sure that Gov Rick Abbott and AG Ken Paxton would welcome such Stasi tactics, but no program or policy is in place. Yet.

So the only -- only -- snitching policy now in effect is the one that requires mandatory reporters such as teachers and physicians to tell child protective services about gender-nonconforming children and their families, and for the state to investigate such reports. Even though, as Rafi Schwartz of Mic points out, the Texas Pediatric Society has pleaded with Texas state officials not to limit access to gender-affirming health care.
posted by virago at 11:47 AM on February 23 [4 favorites]


Some examples of outcomes from twitter:
POV: You're the mother of an 11-year-old trans kid in Texas. One of your child's classmates caught COVID and now your kid has a fever of 102 and a hacking cough. Do you take them to the ER, knowing the nurses may report you as a child abuser?

POV: You're a 16-year-old trans girl who just moved to Dallas with your family. You begin dating a boy and confide in him that you're trans. He threatens you, and says he'll report your family unless you do what he says. What do you do? Who can you talk to?

POV: You're the single mother of a 14-year-old transgender boy and you have sole custody from your abusive ex-husband. He demands you revoke your PFA and cancel your child support agreement or he'll report you as a child abuser. What do you do?
posted by fight or flight at 11:53 AM on February 23 [47 favorites]


Do they give out awards now to states with the Worst Governor? Is this a competition??
Yeah, it's called the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

For real though, I look back on the shit I got as a tomboyish kid and the shit my mother got (and still gets tbh) for "allowing" it and my heart breaks for the kids who have it even worse now.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 12:08 PM on February 23 [24 favorites]


This is evil.
posted by biogeo at 12:08 PM on February 23 [22 favorites]


Abbott isn't the only one. Florida's Rick Scott, who also has presidential ambitions, recently proposed a plan affirming that there are only two genders, claiming that to believe otherwise is to "deny science."

(Mitch McConnell, who sees midterm victory as running on a platform of "Democrats Suck," is reportedly unhappy about Scott saying the quiet part loud.)

A by-product of the Republicans' gerrymandering is that Republican primaries tend to favor extremists, and we keep seeing tragic outrages and outrageous tragedies as the result.
posted by Gelatin at 12:11 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]


From the ACLU:
Attorney general Paxton's opinion and Governor Abbott's letter have no legal effect, can't change Texas law, and can't override the constitutional rights of Texas families.

No court anywhere in the country has ever found that gender-affirming care can be considered child abuse.

Although these materials are not legally binding, they spread fear and misinformation and could spur false reporting of child abuse at a time when trans youth continue to be threatened by state leadership as part of a politically motivated misinformation campaign.

Texas isn't alone — dozens of states have proposed banning medical care for trans youth, including criminalizing access to this care.

There is a nationwide crisis of politicians using their power to attack trans kids, and we will use the full firepower of the ACLU to fight back.
posted by fight or flight at 12:34 PM on February 23 [33 favorites]


Sludge over on Twitter chimes in with a list of Greg Abbott's biggest donors:
- AT&T ($618k)
- Valero ($393k)
- Farmers Insurance ($291k)
- Citigroup ($258k)
- First Citizens Bank ($249k)
- CIT Bank ($248k)
posted by JHarris at 12:37 PM on February 23 [24 favorites]


Yeah, I was coming here to post the Rick Scott nonsense. I have no intention of downplaying the cynicism, corruption, and malice of Texas' Republican leadership but this is not just a Texas problem. Scott, Florida's governor, is trying to position himself as a presumptive front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination and he sees persecution of trans kids as a winning culture war issue for him, as you can see in this presentation of his 11-point plan for post-victory governance.

Literal quote from his "The Hour is Late in America" slide:
"We are allowing biological males to destroy women's sports."
The other complaints from the slide are what you would expect - panic over excessive "wokeness", a claim that people are too lazy to work because the government will pay them not to, somehow the military is being weakened by vaccine mandates (and again, excessive "wokeness"), insinuations that children are being indoctrinated to hate their whiteness, etc. - all of the abhorrent manufactured culture-war crap that the fascist right expects to ride to victory.

This is a national-scale problem and it needs to be confronted, across the board, boldly and decisively, NOW.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:41 PM on February 23 [12 favorites]


Are politicians so unmoored from reality that they don't know that actual people will be harmed by their political stunts? Or do they just not care?

Oh, I think they know. For sure.

We saw the mask slip a bit during the Trump years. Recall one Crystal Minton, a Florida Trumpite who said the quiet part out loud: “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.

The Trumpists—which is to say, at this point, virtually all of the Republican party except a few stalwart holdouts in safe areas—have embraced a zero-sum, us-vs-them, practically eschatological worldview, in which you are either one of them (White, conservative, English-speaking, "Biblically" Christian) or you are... nothing. Subhuman. Untermenschen. Nothing is out of bounds, no rules or standards of decency apply, because they see themselves locked in a existential struggle where they will either exterminate or be exterminated.

And they are right, to a certain extent: that ideology doesn't have a place in a pluralistic, democratic society. It has to be stamped out, or we end up getting sucked down Popper's "paradox of tolerance" hole.

The difference is that many Trumpists have made their ideology part of their identity; they see attacks on Trumpist ideology as attacks on themselves personally (even though they are really not; I mean, there are a bunch of Trumpers I'd be happy to not be sharing oxygen with anymore, but I'm not working to make it happen, nor do I know anyone who is), and respond in what they think is in kind.

Right now, I think their movement is searching around, trying to find the right out-group to demonize. Trump himself went after "Mexicans" (a lumpy category that seemed to contain anyone brown who speaks Spanish), but I think Abbot and others have realized that may not be a political winner—there are too many Hispanic people in the US (particularly in the southern border states), and they are too well integrated into the fabric of our society, to easily cut out and "other". So now they're searching, casting the Republican Eye of Sauron around at what other possibilities might exist, throwing one marginalized group after another at their base to see what gets the biggest reaction. And, at least for right now, trans people seem to be the chosen enemy.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:46 PM on February 23 [35 favorites]


My additional worry here is if this'll be taken as as much of a threat as it is.

I've already been seeing commentator/"unnamed sources in Congress/the administration" (acknowledging the heap-o-salt, of course) talk about not wanting to "fight culture-war issues" (and they see this as very much a culture war issue rather than anything more vital) with midterms coming up, & preparing for unavoidable losses there.

This isn't something that can solely be fought at the individual level, & it'll be telling to see how much institutional urgency there ends up being over it.
posted by CrystalDave at 12:59 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


Ken White also put the call out for resources here:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Popehat/status/1496539862350319616
posted by Silvery Fish at 12:59 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]


one side wants to extinguish the other's ideology. the other side wants to exterminate THE PEOPLE who hold that ideology. not directed at you Kadin2048 I'm pretty sure you get it. just reiterating, for the people in the back...
posted by supermedusa at 1:00 PM on February 23 [9 favorites]


Cripes. I love a lot of smart, talented, kind people who live in Texas. But, maybe it's time the US cut our losses and cut them loose as a failed lower-case-s state.

The attitude that this is a legit political opinion is prejudical, boring, and the reason things are so bad in the United States. (see also: West Virginia and Joe Manchin tanking all that is good). Texas is the United States. Texas is the past of the US. Texas is the future of the US. Texas is the reason that the president's dead. Running away and hiding from yourself is not a solution.

Juneteenth wasn't when people enslaved 'learned' they were free. Juneteenth was when the USA decided to get a spine, stop ignoring Texas, and enforce the proclamation / 13th amendment of the US constitution by sailing thousands of (black) Union soldiers into Galveston.

If you are in the USA, and believe in freedom, and the Bill of Rights, you must stop pretending like you can just run away from the authoritarian problems festering in Texas, or within any other state, because you are playing into the conservative, white supremacist, minority rule strategy of divide and conquer.
posted by eustatic at 1:01 PM on February 23 [86 favorites]


And, at least for right now, trans people seem to be the chosen enemy.

I think pinning it solely to Trump and Trump supporters isn't an accurate picture. Note that Abbot's letter directly cites Bell vs. Tavistock, a ruling in the UK proposed, supported and funded by anti-trans campaigners to stop trans youth from accessing gender affirmative medical care. That certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with Trump or the GOP.

This isn't just Trump, or even just the US. It's also happening in the UK, in Sweden (where under 18s are strongly advised against/outright prevented from accessing gender affirmative care), Hungary (which ended legal recognition of trans and intersex people in 2020) and many other countries around the world. This is the ideological radicalisation of the (mostly Christian) right. It directly feeds into and from the attack on reproductive rights, on protests and civil rights, the demonisation of BLM, etc.
posted by fight or flight at 1:03 PM on February 23 [23 favorites]


Definitely wishful thinking, but quietly hoping the The Texas Holocaust, Genocide, And Antisemitism Advisory Commission Governor Abbott signed into law last year would come out and talk about what happened to Trans people during the holocaust and where this sort of policy / hatred leads to. But again - wishful thinking most likely.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:12 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


Hi, Texas mom of a trans kid.

I'm pretty privileged; I've got savings and a pretty solid moving plan that was already under way. However, it will hurt me and my kid financially if we find ourselves having to move right this second. I guess I was dumb in not expecting this to happen till the next Lege session/thinking I had more time.

And I still might; as the ACLU says, this isn't exactly a change to the law, probably not enforceable. But it uses the same snitch mechanism the Republicans used on abortion, in that anyone can look at my kid as non-gender-conforming and decide to call CPS. And I have to hope that they are too busy or agree that it's bullshit instead of opening an investigation.

I'm already nervous about taking her places. She is very tall and may never "pass" even after years of hormones, and none of that should matter for her safety but it absolutely does. What if an asshole with a gun, which we have lots of here, decides that Abbott has just given him the go-ahead to shoot me for abusing her? What if my MAGA sister, who knows about her, decides to call it in?

Like I said, we have a plan. But there is no way that leaving your state because you fear for your life or your kid's life is going to be a simple thing. Will we be safe in a blue state, even? There's plenty of assholes with guns everywhere. I'm pretty numb right now.
posted by emjaybee at 1:18 PM on February 23 [133 favorites]


I think pinning it solely to Trump and Trump supporters isn't an accurate picture. Note that Abbot's letter directly cites Bell vs. Tavistock, a ruling in the UK proposed, supported and funded by anti-trans campaigners to stop trans youth from accessing gender affirmative medical care. That certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with Trump or the GOP.

I think they are related, it is a worldwide rise of Fascist biopolitics. There is a long history of links between British anti-trans activism and white supremacy, same as in the US.
posted by muddgirl at 1:30 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]


There is a long history of links between British anti-trans activism and white supremacy, same as in the US.

Correct. And the groups in the UK involved with this have been taking right-wing US money, with links to the Heritage Foundation et al, since at least the early 2000s. The connections between the anti-trans wing of radical feminism and historically antiabortion, antifeminist US groups is well established. Taking 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' to horrifying extremes.
posted by Ardnamurchan at 1:36 PM on February 23 [13 favorites]


This is just simply horrifying.
posted by dg at 1:43 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]


Are politicians so unmoored from reality that they don't know that actual people will be harmed by their political stunts?

Harming children is the purpose of their political stunts.
posted by Nelson at 1:52 PM on February 23 [10 favorites]


Doesn't care if they starve, doesn't care if they freeze

Looks like Abbott actually does care if they freeze, because capitalism, I guess?
posted by hanov3r at 1:54 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


Jesus fucking Christ. I got a couch and a bedroom available in Albany NY for anyone who needs to flee that godawful situation. Holy shit, I know fleeing isn't always the right thing to do, but ...
posted by mrgoat at 2:00 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]


The Trumpists—which is to say, at this point, virtually all of the Republican party except a few stalwart holdouts in safe areas—have embraced a zero-sum, us-vs-them, practically eschatological worldview, in which you are either one of them (White, conservative, English-speaking, "Biblically" Christian) or you are... nothing. Subhuman. Untermenschen. Nothing is out of bounds, no rules or standards of decency apply, because they see themselves locked in a existential struggle where they will either exterminate or be exterminated.

Frank Wilhoit: "Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect."
posted by Gelatin at 2:00 PM on February 23 [16 favorites]


It would be very awesome if we could keep the discussion focused on trans kids and families in Texas specifically and not on "everything that is wrong with Texas," particularly the freeze horrific mass death event that all Texans lived through last year. Maybe make a post about utilities regulation if you need or want to. It's fucking raw here right now.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:15 PM on February 23 [15 favorites]


got a couch and a bedroom available in Albany NY for anyone who needs to flee that godawful situation.
tigrrrlily and I have an extra bedroom (tri state area too) we pretty much figure might get used by a stray trans kid someday. Wish it weren't necessary, but there's a long tradition of that.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 2:17 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


This is what can happen when there are no national laws protecting queer people. The Equality Act was introduced in a Senate committee a year ago today, and nothing of note has happened since.

This hot, hot garbage is a heavy-handed attempt to continue to reshape kids’ minds to bend reality towards the GOP remaining in power and controlling the narrative. Rework the lesson plans, outlaw talking about queer people, recast transitioning (or even exploring!) as criminal. The groundwork here is clear, and I am pissed as hell that the Senate and the government has done jack shit about this.

Except tout the Equality Act in a fundraising email I got. Gee, thanks.

How many trans kids need to suffer even more than they already do? For god’s sake. I feel so so bad for my friends in TX.
posted by hijinx at 2:19 PM on February 23 [11 favorites]


Thanks, Snarl Furillo. I've seen quite a few folks on twitter speculating that this anti-trans letter is some sort of coverup for today's news irt the power grid corruption, which might well be true, but let's not pretend that Abbott and his ilk would be happy to pass this kind of legislation any day of the week regardless of whatever else is going on, and that it's not a sign of an ongoing war being waged against the trans community.
posted by fight or flight at 2:19 PM on February 23 [9 favorites]


How abuse of power projects.
posted by filtergik at 2:30 PM on February 23


If you are in the USA, and believe in freedom, and the Bill of Rights, you must stop pretending like you can just run away from the authoritarian problems festering in Texas, or within any other state, because you are playing into the conservative, white supremacist, minority rule strategy of divide and conquer.

The people of Texas, trans and otherwise, are American citizens and deserving of the full protection of the Bill of Rights no matter what Abbot says. Let's not be so casual about abandoning our fellow citizens to the tender mercies of a fascist foreign government.
posted by Gelatin at 2:35 PM on February 23 [28 favorites]


If you are in the USA, and believe in freedom, and the Bill of Rights, you must stop pretending like you can just run away from the authoritarian problems festering in Texas, or within any other state, because you are playing into the conservative, white supremacist, minority rule strategy of divide and conquer.

Yeah, as a Canadian, Americans wanting to move here and re-make Canada in their own image of a Liberal Utopia won't do anything but create two (and ultimately one) Americas. However, the accelerating decline of the US, and the increasing brutality towards out-groups will create (has created?) a potential refugee situation. I welcome asylum-seekers, but for the love of all that is holy, if you are able, fight, don't run.
posted by klanawa at 2:42 PM on February 23 [6 favorites]


I read this article last year and the reporter just resurfaced it on Twitter - the story of a mother in Michigan who was investigated and had her children taken in part because she affirmed her son's gender exploration. It's even worse than it sounds.

So yes this is happening openly in Texas but it may be happening quietly in your state too.
posted by muddgirl at 3:24 PM on February 23 [23 favorites]


I've seen quite a few folks on twitter speculating that this anti-trans letter is some sort of coverup for today's news irt the power grid corruption, which might well be true,

I mean, that's an angle I hadn't considered and it's certainly worth discussing for those who want to! There are a lot of interconnected issues at play here. For me right now, references to the freeze with less context than you shared are coming off more flippant than I think people outside the state might realize/intend, and I wanted to let people know that.

Like I said, it's all fucking raw here right now, and exponentially more so the more vulnerable you are. Hope that makes sense.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:37 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]


super shitty. the timing of this with the energy pricing bombshell was not... coincidence.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:39 PM on February 23 [8 favorites]


If family and protective services in Texas were to undertake such investigations, I wonder how many cases they might run into where fathers are slipping androgenic hormones and growth hormones to their sons in order to make them more masculine and better at sports?

I have a feeling that’s big on its way to being really big among a certain faction of White Supremacist dads in Texas.
posted by jamjam at 4:03 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


If family and protective services in Texas were to undertake such investigations, I wonder how many cases they might run into where fathers are slipping androgenic hormones and growth hormones to their sons in order to make them more masculine and better at sports?

It's unlikely because androgens and growth hormone are not readily available, particularly in an oral formula, particularly because most (all?) of them are controlled substances so they're pretty well locked down. Not impossible, but very much a hassle to access, inject regularly, etc. On the DIY front, a lot of what is sold as a "masculinizing" supplement is some herbal bullshit that does nothing, or worse, is tainted with some other bullshit that is actually harmful, because that's pretty much how supplements work.

Which would also be bad for those kids, though not more so than the ages-old practice of attempting to beat masculinity into your child, which is usually the go-to for the shitty, authoritarian parents of the world.
posted by blnkfrnk at 4:33 PM on February 23 [6 favorites]


Abbott isn't the only one. Florida's Rick Scott, who also has presidential ambitions, recently proposed a plan affirming that there are only two genders, claiming that to believe otherwise is to "deny science."

In a moment of dark comedic relief what he actually affirmed was that there are only intersex people because his plan said "Humans are born male and female...". 100% not his intention as is clear from the context but I'll take a little gramatical schadenfreude when I find it in right-wing troll's manifesto.
posted by srboisvert at 4:49 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]




Chuck Tingle has bought governorabbot.com.
posted by Schmucko at 5:14 PM on February 23 [46 favorites]


Meanwhile, the actually harmful to children, quack science practice of conversion therapy remains perfectly legal in Texas.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:38 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]


It's unlikely because androgens and growth hormone are not readily available, particularly in an oral formula, particularly because most (all?) of them are controlled substances so they're pretty well locked down.

An average day of sports radio in super-left Seattle where I live features 30 ads for "low-T" clinics which cater to men without any clinical diagnosis. If a man wanted to give testosterone to his son, there is absolutely nothing stopping him from going to one of these and getting it. They aren’t turning anybody away at those places. You might need an endocrinologist for the GH, but I’m not sure. If you think it’s hard to come by though, I suggest taking a look at the recent stories about accusations Peyton Manning took GH. Apparently GH was sent to the Manning household, but it was prescribed for his wife, as I understand it. I know a family whose son was below the 5th %ile in height at age 4 and took GH all the way through high school and beyond. They shipped it to his house in refrigerated boxes for self-administration, and as far as I’m aware, absolutely no effort was made by any responsible authority to be sure he was taking it.
posted by jamjam at 9:21 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]


This is veering off topic as, when it comes to hormones, the Texas directive is targeted at "(1) puberty-suppression or puberty-blocking drugs; (2) supraphysiologic doses of testosterone to females; and (3) supraphysiologic doses of estrogen to males." Giving testosterone to cis boys is not under discussion at all.

It also exempts "medical reasons" for any of the treatments they describe. This is one way that CPS actions will be targeted towards poor and minority families - families with means and connections will of course have some medical diagnosis.
posted by muddgirl at 9:29 PM on February 23 [5 favorites]


Good god this is awful; I am close to a family in Texas who has a trans child. I am really worried about how this will affect them.
posted by TedW at 10:15 PM on February 23 [4 favorites]


I hadn't seen it mentioned here yet mostly because the CPS part us so awful. There is a line in the memo towards the end mentioning investigations against medical facilities ("...and on other state agencies to investigate licenced facilities where such procedures occur.") In my reading this is to prohibit facilities fom providing gender affirming care (which under 18 is mostly family support and possibly puberty blockers honestly not much else happens in the US on any regular basis, and I don't know of any facilities doing surgeries in the under 18 group), and importantly educating families on gender affirming care in comprehensive clinics in which people have significant experience treating, diagnosing and working/educating families about evidenced based practices and outcomes.
Licensing and accreditation bodies for facilities should be concerned that facilities are providing evidence based care and keeping patients from harm. But here have direct instruction from the government to do differently.

CPS is also terrifing in that to be a worker one doesn't need a bunch of training or education. In TX A bachelor's degree in pretty much anything will do (and in texas with experience with kids even the degree is optional) and you must have volunteered with kids in some capacity for a couple of years. These aren't people with education or clinical skills making decisions, these are adults trained to be the arm of the state without question. These are under educated people making decisions about very very very complicated topics that require a significant amount of expertise and many of them have no idea what they do not know.

These are kids lives. These are kids attachments to their caregivers. CPS is terrifing on any given day and this just makes everything so much worse.

I am terrified for families in TX and elsewhere.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:05 AM on February 24 [8 favorites]


As seen online.

I am hoping for all those folks who say families with trans kids should move--and this goes for any anti-gay legislation too in other states or any other horrors--are donating thousands of dollars directly to those affected. I am more worried about the trans kids who don't have homes, who are even more vulnerable, who have abusive homes or what not. People seem to think that moving is a doddle and anyone can do it if you pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don't have money. Unless people are paying fully for those moves to your blue utopias--spoiler alert: everywhere is terrible not just the South--please stop suggesting this as an option. Help them fight, support the agencies that will help them fight, and go to Texas and go to rallies and help them fight. Helping them fight is a better option than a flippant "they need to move."

I am galvanizing my family in Texas to assist the fight ahead though we have no skin in the game. What I do have is a bunch of excellent liberal Texan family members who will protect the vulnerable the best they can.
posted by Kitteh at 5:31 AM on February 24 [11 favorites]


Kitteh, I take solace in the fact that you have fierce liberal family in Texas who are going to step up for trans kids.

You are right that "everywhere is terrible not just the South." I have extended family in Louisiana who would eagerly embrace the kind of transphobic witch hunt that Paxton and Abbott are now carrying out in Texas. But I also have relatives in Pennsylvania who feel the exact same way. And as mcduff points out upthread, a host of Abbott clones are vying for the GOP nomination for governor in Pa.

I am hoping for all those folks who say families with trans kids should move ...

Is the reference to "all those folks" a general one, to the conversation that's taking place on Twitter and FB? (I haven't seen it, but I'm sure it's full of the usual hot takes.)

Not that Metafilter is immune from hot takes, but I don't see anyone in this discussion downplaying the costs, financial or otherwise, of relocating.

The utterly wrong-headed "cut them loose" comment about ignoring Texas -- which has been quoted a few times -- was deleted before I could read the original one.

Otherwise, people participating in this discussion have talked about the disproportionate impact on working-class Texans with trans kids; about making room in their homes for Texas families with trans kids; about being afraid as a Texas parent of a trans child, despite their own family's relative financial privilege, and about raising funds to help Texas families who want to relocate.
posted by virago at 7:19 AM on February 24


"They need to move" is not flippant, it is an urgent call to action for whoever has the means. Parents with trans children can't afford to fight this fight. They need to escape before they are raided by CPS.

There is already one mefite in this thread who might need to step up their escape plan. "everywhere is terrible" is so loaded with privilege I don't even have the words. Yes, someone in my family lost her access to her kids for the crime of being a trans woman in a "Blue Utopia", but outside of divorce proceedings, parents of trans children in Texas who happen to have the means still have a handful of options for US states to run to for long enough for their trans kids to make it to adulthood without the trauma of state interference.

The parents who can't afford to move also lack the means to fight. The people who need to stay and fight are the allies, the people with far less to lose and far more to spend than the people affected by an anti-trans legal environment.
posted by tigrrrlily at 7:32 AM on February 24 [7 favorites]


I absolutely agree that those with the means to leave should leave. The safety of their children is paramount. We should also do what we can to protect those without the means to leave.

At the same time, I expect this is a secondary goal of Abbott et al. Texas has been dangerously close to tipping blue over the last few election cycles. I have to imagine that the GOP has looked for solutions that would not merely be red meat to their own voters, but also would push liberals and progressives to move out of the state, thereby holding off the supposed blue wave.

I don't know what the answer is. I would never tell anyone that they need to stay in a bad situation and fight from the inside, because I wouldn't do that with my own family. Already, I'm planning to move out of my own red county (in Maryland) after finally being fed up with reactionary redneck bullshit.

The author of The Big Sort was recently on the radio explaining how the clustering of American ideologies has gotten so much worse in the 14 years since he originally published the book. We would basically need massive federal anti-gerrymandering efforts and an abolishment of the Electoral College in order to counteract the effects of generations of siloing. Because I'm certainly not going to move to Texas or Florida.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:58 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


There is already one mefite in this thread who might need to step up their escape plan. "everywhere is terrible" is so loaded with privilege I don't even have the words.

It's equally loaded with privilege to tell people they have to move when they have no means of doing so.
posted by Kitteh at 8:03 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]


True, but as the grandchild of Holocaust survivors I can say this: sometimes you need to get the fuck out of town.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:11 AM on February 24 [12 favorites]


Can we not derail with this abstract discussion of moving, a decision that's going to vary widely depending on individual/family circumstances? How about we focus on what we can do to support people who want/need to move and people who want/need to stay?
posted by kokaku at 8:18 AM on February 24 [14 favorites]


Mod note: Folks, officially, let's lay off the "they should"/"they must" stuff.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:46 AM on February 24 [7 favorites]


It's frustrating to see that the response from the White House on this issue involves the press secretary not saying the word "transgender" once.
posted by fight or flight at 8:47 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


It's frustrating to see that the response from the White House on this issue involves the press secretary not saying the word "transgender" once.

That seems unfair. She says LGBTQI+, and (smartly, I think) makes a point of tying together all these various state movements to harm vulnerable children. This communicates that the President views this as a consolidated effort rather than isolated "States' Rights" BS.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:10 AM on February 24 [2 favorites]


My awesome boss is fully aware of and supportive of the possibility of our move, and one thing I told her is that laws like these + the abortion ban are almost certainly affecting my company's ability to recruit talent (especially diverse talent) that we desperately need. If I were a new female engineering grad, I'd be pretty reluctant to move here. Or a person of color, or gay...

I don't doubt Republicans will be happy to chase out non- conservatives, but the brain drain is going to be real.

Oh and last week they also announced they wanted to get rid of tenure for new state university hires and be able to revoke existing tenure for basically ever talking about race. Definitely not going to improve the prestige of getting an education here.

They are never thinking past the red meat stage anymore, they are high on their own supply, and it's not just going to hurt their targets but their state economy.
posted by emjaybee at 9:18 AM on February 24 [8 favorites]


That seems unfair.

Eh, I disagree. When it's an initiative that's specifically pointed at a vulnerable part of the community, avoiding saying that outright (as the WH seems willing to do) comes across as a cowardly move, IMO. Yes, there are also bills pointed squarely at LGBTQI+ kids in general, as discussed above, but a lot of high level discourse historically seems to treat "transgender" as a dirty word.

It doesn't feel great when the only people willing to outright say they have opinions about trans people tend to be the ones trying to kick us out of bathrooms and drive our kids to suicide. If you want to protect trans kids, learn to say that out loud, with your whole voice.

If I was to be really cynical, I would note that the WH press secretary is probably no doubt aware that there are a lot of Dems for whom the words "transgender children" would trigger the exact same arguments as we see being used in Texas. This is mostly a right wing issue, but there are plenty of people on the left side of the fence who have "doubts" and "worries" about trans kids.
posted by fight or flight at 9:23 AM on February 24 [7 favorites]


They are never thinking past the red meat stage anymore, they are high on their own supply, and it's not just going to hurt their targets but their state economy.

Republicans appear increasingly unable to think about anything past the next election (except when it comes to Supreme Court justices). Their actions appear entirely about short-term wins with no thought whatsoever to the long-term ramifications of those actions.

Eh, I disagree. When it's an initiative that's specifically pointed at a vulnerable part of the community, avoiding saying that outright (as the WH seems willing to do) comes across as a cowardly move, IMO. Yes, there are also bills pointed squarely at LGBTQI+ kids in general, as discussed above, but a lot of high level discourse historically seems to treat "transgender" as a dirty word.

I understand and acknowledge the point. I suppose I am giving Psaki and the White House the benefit of the doubt, given that it was a short answer in an otherwise busy press conference. But I agree that it would be better for the White House to make its support of transgender kids more explicit.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:29 AM on February 24


DAs representing 5 of the largest counties (Dallas, Travis, Bexar, Nueces, Fort Bend) have signed a letter refusing to follow the directive. They rightly call it "life-threatening.

Separately the County Attorney from El Paso county is refusing. I hope for a similar statement from Harris county DA Kim Ogg.
posted by muddgirl at 3:32 PM on February 24 [17 favorites]


This org, https://transequality.org/ and https://ncteactionfund.org/, seems at first glance to be doing useful work.
posted by elizabot at 4:00 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


This is horrifying and repellent, and I appreciate the links to resources and ways to help.

But a quick note: Rick Scott has not been the governor of FL for some time: that’s now the equally rotten (if not worse!) Ron DeSantis, who is also assumed to have 2024 presidential ambitions.
posted by verbminx at 8:46 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


A recent episode called Trans Youth Are Facing Right-Wing Attacks and a Solidarity Shortage, from Kelly Hayes's podcast, Movement Memos, places these anti-trans legislative moves as part of the installation of broader right-wing authoritarian control measures:
[To] cis women whose bodies and experiences in history, particularly white cis women, are being leveraged in the service of anti-trans violence. I want to say it’s certainly not going to stop with trans people. And it is part of the animating ideology that is restricting access to reproductive health care, but it’s also going to increasingly restrict access to birth control, increasingly going to facilitate state-based surveillance over bodies as a general matter. This is not just about trans people. Trans people pose a very sort of a obvious and particular threat to the neatness of a sort of state control over sex bodies. But that doesn’t … It certainly doesn’t start or end with trans people. And so, even if you don’t care about us, if you care about yourself, this fight is your fight too.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:11 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


I recently retired from a school district in California. Every year we attended a "mandated reporter" meeting about our legal requirement to report children suspected of abuse. (Kind of wasted on me, the IT guy, who never interacted with kids. But I admire the intention.) That trans kids, kids most in need of support, would be lumped into the abused category horrifies me. As the IT guy, I've had to deal with Sex vs Gender, and I updated my code to deal with it. Maybe update yourself, Texas.
posted by SPrintF at 5:02 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


If I was to be really cynical, I would note that the WH press secretary is probably no doubt aware that there are a lot of Dems for whom the words "transgender children" would trigger the exact same arguments as we see being used in Texas.

I think you're right about that. Remember earlier in the week when that dude from Slate wrote that "Democrats need to offer some serious concessions on culture war issues?" This is exactly what that looks like.
posted by MrBadExample at 4:31 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Yeah, a lot of us trans people are very used to being first under the bus when our supposed allies need a victory.
posted by Dysk at 6:46 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


I’d like to deeply apologize for coming in hot and terrible with my take in this thread. It wasn’t my intention to derail in an already fraught situation. Again, my apologies to those I offended. I am not proud of my behaviour.
posted by Kitteh at 5:53 PM on February 27


The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and Lambda Legal are suing Governor Abbott:
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an employee of DFPS with a transgender child, her husband, and the teen herself. According to the complaint, this family has had an investigator already arrive at their house. The family has filed the lawsuit anonymously. Dr. Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist who is considered a mandatory reporter under Texas law and cannot comply with the governor’s directive without harming her clients and violating her ethical obligations, is also a plaintiff in the suit.

"For Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton, it seems the cruelty is the point,” said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Paul Castillo (he/him). “They are joining a politically motivated misinformation campaign with no consideration of medical science and seem determined to criminalize parents seeking to care and provide for their kids, and medical professionals abiding by accepted standards of care for transgender youth. Gender-affirming care for the treatment of gender dysphoria is medically necessary care, full stop. Criminalizing that care and threatening to tear children from their families is unconscionable and terrifying, and cannot stand.”
posted by fight or flight at 9:27 AM on March 1


Texas harassment of families with trans kids has started in practice: Texas Investigates Parents Over Care for Transgender Youth, Suit Says. The article has stories of various families affected by the new executive decree. ACLU is suing to end it.

As predicted, Texas Attorney General Paxton did not win a majority in the primary so he's in a runoff now against George P. Bush. The latest Bush hier is also a sonuvabitch so it's not a huge improvement. There will also be a runoff in the Democratic primary, the leading candidate is Rochelle Garza.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


“Parents will be restored to their rightful place as the preeminent decision-maker for their children,” Abbott assured those at his campaign event last week at a charter school in Lewisville.
https://www.texastribune.org/2022/01/26/greg-abbott-parental-bill-of-rights/
posted by mikelieman at 8:06 AM on March 2


On Children

(Song from gay men’s a cappella group The Flirtations, based on a poem by Rumi)
posted by eviemath at 10:54 AM on March 2


itch.io is selling 400+ RPGs for a fundraiser for the Transgender Education Network of Texas. (via rpg.net)
https://itch.io/b/1308/ttrpgs-for-trans-rights-in-texas?fbclid=IwAR22iOobt7BcDj1fdGTFZeaZgwfoWEdCzaCYj6QB30TUSBeVMgDk0ac97Yw
posted by Spike Glee at 12:10 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


It's not over, folks. Idaho is proposing a new bill that will punish anyone who provides kids with gender affirming medical care with life in prison.

@ErinInTheMorn explains it.

The bill itself can be found here.

Cis friends and allies, please don't take your foot off the gas. Legislators are banking on people not caring or noticing as they sneak these nasty additions through.
posted by fight or flight at 3:36 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


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