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Texas House to discuss, vote on bills affecting transgender youth

Demonstarors rally against the criminalization of medical treatment for trans youths in front of the Texas State Capitol on Mar. 1, 2022.
Sheryl Wong for KUT
Demonstarors rally against the criminalization of medical treatment for trans youths in front of the Texas State Capitol on Mar. 1, 2022.

Texas lawmakers are considering a slate of bills affecting transgender young people this session.

Two of these bills are up for discussion this week. One would prohibit trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care. The other would ban trans athletes from participating on collegiate sports teams that match their gender identity.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán, who covers the capital for the Texas Newsroom, said changes have been discussed regarding the bill banning gender-affirming care for minors.

“Sen. Donna Campbell initially decided to propose a bill to ban gender affirming care for all people under 18. And when we talk about gender-affirming care, we’re talking about puberty blockers and hormone therapy,” Martínez-Beltrán said. “But then Campbell amended the measure to grandfathering in those minors who are currently undergoing transition-related medical care. However, a few days later, Campbell came back and asked the Senate to drop the amendment and go back to the original version of their proposal.”

The House will consider the original version of the bill that prohibits care for all minors. However, Martínez-Beltrán said the House also has an alternative version of the bill that still includes the grandfathering provision.

“The Senate version would require minors to stop treatment by Sept. 1. The House, though, has a substitute that would grandfather in the minors currently taking hormone therapy and puberty blockers,” he said. “The sponsor of the House version has said that it’s important to include a cooling off period for these minors so that withdrawal effects are not as devastating as they could be if they have to stop the treatment right away.”

Both the House and Senate version would also stop public health insurance plans, like Medicaid and CHIP, from covering these services, along with revoking the medical licenses of anyone found to be providing such care, Martínez-Beltrán said.

The bill banning trans athletes from participating in sports that match their gender identity is mostly concerned with trans women, according to Martínez-Beltrán.

“The main concern for Republicans is people assigned male at birth competing in women’s sports,” he said. “Currently under NCAA policy, transgender athletes are allowed to compete as long as they provide documentation that shows they’ve been on testosterone suppression treatment for a year, and they also have to prove that their testosterone levels are below a threshold. But if this bill passes, transgender athletes in Texas public universities would be forced to compete in teams that match their sex assigned at birth and not their gender identity.”

The House is expected to vote on the bill related to gender-affirming care this week, and the bill addressing trans college athletes will be the subject of debate in committee.

Martínez-Beltrán said it is expected that, with a Republican majority in both chambers, these bills will pass.

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