Health

Texas hospital halts puberty blockers as trans teens reach breaking point over governor’s attack

Josh Milton March 8, 2022
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Kai Shappley holding a sign

Kai Shappley. (Facebook)

The devastating impact of Texas governor Gregg Abbott’s attack on trans kids is fast emerging.

Abbott has drawn international condemnation for his attempts to investigate gender-affirming healthcare providers and supportive parents of trans kids for “child abuse”.

Amid threats to prosecute anybody involved in the provision of puberty blockers to trans youths, the Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest paediatric hospital in the state, pulled all hormone therapies for trans kids on Monday.

While it said that it hopes for a “healthier future” for trans teenagers, it can only offer support “within the bounds of the law”.

“This step was taken to safeguard our healthcare professionals and impacted families from potential criminal legal ramifications,” a hospital spokesperson told CNN.

Abbott ordered Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate gender-affirming care for trans kids last month, following a legal opinion by attorney general Ken Paxton describing the treatments as child abuse.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott during a campaign rally
Texas Governor Greg Abbott during a campaign rally. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Brian Klosterboer, staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas, has insisted Abbott and Paxton’s words have “no legal effect”, but this has not stopped them from launching investigations, one of which has been blocked by the courts.

As the crisis continues, the mother of Kai Shappley, an 11-year-old trans girl from Austin who has previously taken on lawmakers who would deny her right to exist, shared an emotional update from their family home.

“She finally broke while washing dishes,” Kimberely Shappley tweeted. “An 11-year-old sobbing hysterically from a mix of emotions over a sink full of dirty dishes.

“I cannot even describe the scene in words.”

Kimberly said that she and Kai agreed that seeing her therapist is “not an option right now”, as it may be too risky given attempts to prosecute healthcare providers who support trans kids.

“We just don’t know the reach of this stupid healthcare ban,” she wrote, “and would add to the anxiety, thanks to the TX governor.”

Kimberly urged her Republican followers: “For the love of God, call your reps and governor and ask them to stop”.

“If they won’t stop,” she added, “please vote for anyone running against them in the elections.”

 

It comes after Texas officials began investigating the family of a trans girl who is seeking gender-affirming healthcare.

The family, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas and LGBT+ civil rights organisation Lambda Legal, filed a lawsuit against Abbott and the DFPS.

Judge Amy Meachum in Travis County granted the family a temporary restraining order, halting the probe.

Oher investigations, however, are set to continue and Paxton has since filed an appeal against the court order.

After the news that Texas Children’s Hospital was halting its hormone therapy provision, Paxton tweeted: “Glad to hear that today Texas Children’s Hospital halted their child-abuse procedures.”

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