OPINION: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott violates human rights with anti-trans legislation

New Texas laws attack transgender youth; a step back in fight for trans rights



Trans rights are human rights, and Texas’ new laws violate both.

ANNABELLE PEPIN, Evergreen columnist

Although Thomas Jefferson wrote, “all men are created equal” in The Declaration of Independence, there is still a long way to go to have genuine equality in the U.S. Marginalized groups like people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals are still a target of oppression in nearly every society. A recurring target in the state of Texas is transgender youth. 

In April 2021, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1646, which classifies gender-affirming health care to transgender minors as child abuse. 

Supporting transgender youth is far from child abuse – denying young people medical care and the chance to be their true selves is the true abuse.

While preventing child abuse is an important role of the government, the specific details of this bill violate basic human rights. Section 1N explicitly states that minors are unable to receive prescriptions or procedures that aid their transitions, including puberty blockers and surgeries.

Texas is the only state court in the U.S. that has labeled this scenario as child abuse.

In the last few weeks, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took this bill a step further. Abbott pushed for professionals – such as teachers and doctors – that work with trans minors to intervene and report them, directed as a state investigation. 

If these medical professionals and teachers refuse to report, they could face criminal penalties and be labeled as child abuse enablers. Abbott’s next step is not fully in effect but still compromises the basic human rights of transgender youth. 

To put medical professionals in a position that compromises their patient confidentiality for the sole reason of reporting a patient’s desire to aid their transition is unprofessional and is a direct violation of privacy. 

“Young trans youth know who they are, and they need the support to figure that out. If their families and parents are affirming them, it is frustrating that the state would come in like this and tell them they are bad parents,” Matthew Jeffries, director for the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, said. 

Considering a parent in this situation is supportive of their child’s decision, the labeling of abuse is extremely misleading and, quite frankly, a very authoritative approach on the government’s end. 

“It’s confusing that Texas, a state that is built upon personal and individual rights, would pick and choose who gets to exercise their rights based on their identity,” said Talia Bergman, freshman studio art major.

Independence is one of the driving principles of the U.S., which is why it is baffling that a state government as conservative as Texas’ is working to control the ways individuals exercise their basic human rights. 

Abbott himself said in a tweet that “Freedom defines us as a people. And no one believes in freedom more than Texas,” yet is attempting to take personal freedoms away from children that are uncomfortable in the bodies they were born in. 

If this decision moves forward, minors seeking guidance on their transition will be left with no confidentiality, as well as a state government that refuses to support their independent decisions (even with independence being the core value of the state of Texas). 

The bravery that comes with expressing one’s identity is truly admirable, so to see people in political power actively working to strip personal identities away from others is frustrating to watch. 

Considering this is the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,” Abbott’s efforts come across as particularly hypocritical.

The job of a state governor is to support the people in their state and enforce laws without infringing on personal freedom. Instead, Abbott is attempting to criminalize specific expressions of personal identities, which are, in other words, freedoms

If all people are created equal, why is the recent progression for transgender rights and equality going backward? 

“If a child starts puberty early, they will give them the resources necessary, such as puberty blockers,” Bergman said. “But if a 10-year-old child tells their mother that they are a girl and their mom affirms, encouraging the usage of puberty blockers, this scenario is labeled as child abuse, but the other scenario is not.” 

All living things deserve love and respect. To see a backtrack in progression is frustrating, and the fight for genuine equality deserves so much more attention. 

Abbott’s transphobic motives do not belong in a political world. His hypocritical values of picking who can express their individuality go against all written values of the U.S.