Texas Passes Anti-Trans Bills; Virginia’s Trans Youth’s Future Remains Uncertain

Adia Elcock, Staff Writer

Governor Abbott speaks at a news conference. Photo courtesy of AP News.

On February 22, 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)  informing them that providing gender-affirming treatments to transgender youth violated state law. In the letter, Abbott referred to gender-affirming treatments as “child abuse,” and encouraged the investigation of parents who allowed their children to undergo those treatments, as well as the doctors who perform them. This letter comes after a record number of anti-trans bills entered the Texas house and senate this year. Despite this, Austin, Texas is considered a transgender “safe haven,” and transgender activists have been working to prevent anti-trans bills from being signed into law.

Gender-affirming treatment is most often associated with sex-change surgery, but there are other treatments available under that umbrella. Patients can choose surgical treatments such as breast augmentations or reductions, feminizing vaginoplasties, and masculinizing phalloplasties, as well as non-surgical treatments such as

Graphic by Zainab Rentia.

hair removal and voice therapy. Additionally, therapy sessions for transgender youth can be considered gender-affirming treatments, as they can help the subject become more comfortable with themselves, and make their transition easier. The language pertaining to gender-affirming treatment in Governor Abbott’s order is broad enough that patients seeking both surgical and non-surgical interventions may be affected. This has angered many transgender activists and supporters as they strongly believe that both surgical and non-surgical gender-affirming treatments are crucial to keeping transgender children alive.

In Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin has already made it clear that he does not support transgender rights. During his campaign, he and his team used the sexual assault of a Loudon County school girl in a girl’s bathroom by a boy who was dressed as a girl as an example of what happens when transgender students use the bathroom that

Photo courtesy of AP News.

corresponds with their gender identity, regardless of sex. Additionally, Governor Youngkin is opposed to allowing transgender students to compete in sports that align with their gender-identity instead of their sex. Governor Youngkin also opposes the inclusion of books with themes closely tied to the LGBTQ+ community, and supported a Loudoun County teacher who did not want to refer to a student by their chosen pronouns.

Those worried about the future of transgender rights in Virginia can breathe easy for a short while, as Critical Race Theory and “Devisive Teachings” take center stage in Virginia legislative debates. However, given the anti-trans act in Texas, as well as Governor Youngkin’s swift action with CRT, it is not unreasonable to assume that transgender rights may be the Governor’s next target.