Culture

The Only Gender Clinic for Texas Minors Just Closed After Right-Wing Protests


Contrary to the notion that puberty blockers are akin to “chemical castration,” evidence shows that they are fully reversible and that access to them significantly reduces the risk of suicide. While the effects of HRT are slightly less reversible, evidence is increasingly emerging that disputes the notion that hormones are totally sterilizing.

GENECIS had offered patients puberty blockers and hormone therapy, as well as counseling and mental health services. The clinic did not offer gender confirmation surgery for children or adults, per the Texas Tribune.

In September, Dallas Children’s Medical Center provided a statement to the Dallas Express about the importance of providing its services to children.

“With a suicide attempt rate of up to 41% for children and adolescents with gender dysphoria, there is a need for comprehensive care for these youth,” the statement read. “Given the significant suffering and extraordinarily high suicide rate in these children, offering a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach is needed to help treat this medical problem.”

Advocates were predictably devastated by the move, with Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez referring to the harassment that providers face as “heartbreaking.”

“Accessing healthcare can be a courageous act for many LGBTQ+ people because of how difficult it is to find providers who are knowledgeable about our needs and the poor treatment we have experienced by insurers and/or providers in the past,” Martinez told the Texas Tribune.

While patients will be able to continue to receive care, the shift from a more public-facing clinic to a covert operation signals the impact of the anti-trans rhetoric perpetuated in legislation, regardless of whether or not it’s ever signed into law. The notion that allowing children to receive gender-affirming healthcare is tantamount to child abuse echoes the language used in Senate Bill 1646, which would have legally classified the provision of transition-related healthcare to minors as an act of child abuse punishable by law — except in the case of non-consensual treatments for intersex youth. The bill died in committee in April, but its impact lives on in conservative rhetoric, including an August letter from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that declared that trans-affirming surgeries for minors constitute “child abuse.”

Texas has pushed similar rhetoric in other legislation, as in House Bill 25, which was signed into law in October and effectively forces student athletes to compete on teams according to the gender listed on their original birth certificate in the name of “saving women’s sports.” According to a legislative tracker by the advocacy group Freedom for All Americans, Texas has introduced more anti-trans bills this year than any other state by far, with 40 bills.

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