“Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse,” Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Jaime Masters, whom Abbott appointed to the post in 2019, wrote in a letter to the Republican governor Wednesday.
Masters warned that teachers, nurses, doctors and day-care staff who are licensed by the state, or work in state-licensed or state-operated facilities can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, if they find out a child has undergone gender-affirming surgery and do not report it to her agency.
The declaration means Masters’s agency is obligated to investigate the parents of any child who has the procedure done, according to Abbott.
The commissioner did however say the procedure may not constitute abuse if it is deemed medically necessary for a child who, for instance, is born with both male and female sex organs.
Abbott asked Masters to weigh in early this month after Republican state lawmakers failed to secure passage of a bill in the 2021 regular legislative session that aimed to prohibit transgender youth from receiving cross-sex hormone therapy, puberty suppression drugs and reassignment surgery by adding the treatments to the definition of child abuse under state law.
LGBTQ advocates say Abbott is pandering to his conservative base because sex-reassignment surgery is rarely performed on minors.
For one thing, it’s expensive, according to medical professionals. It costs $7,000 to $24,000 for male-to-female procedures and more than $50,000 for female-to-male procedures.
It’s also only performed after the person has received hormone therapy for at least a year, doctors say.
Ricardo Martinez, CEO of the LGBTQ-rights group Equality Texas, said medical professionals have worked up best practices advising a social transition that allows transgender children to express their identity without surgical intervention.
“So growing out or changing their hair style and wearing clothes they feel reflect their gender identity,” he said in an interview.
Abbott, along with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a fellow Republican, is also pushing for passage of a bill that would restrict public school students to competing in athletics against people of the same biological sex.
The governor named it to his list of priority legislation in the regular session and two special sessions he has convened this summer.
Martinez said the legislative attacks are endangering transgender Texans, one group in particular.
“We already know the fearmongering and rhetoric around the lives of transgender people contributes to having Texas remain the leading state in the murders of black transgender women and that’s simply not acceptable,” he said…Original Source…