Important Texas Update and Resources
Despite attacks by state anti-trans legislation and hateful opinions from state attorney generals and governors like in Texas, trans people, and more particularly, trans youth are protected from health care discrimination under federal law. Here’s how to use those protections to get the health care you need—and how to stand up against the attempts to promote discrimination.
Here's what you need to know
The bottom line: Federal law protects trans people and trans youth from discrimination in health care, including discriminatory and unnecessary barriers to gender affirming care. Governor Greg Abbott is trying to criminalize gender-affirming care—but it can’t change the fact that gender affirming care saves lives and that anti-trans discrimination in health care is illegal—and more importantly harassing trans youth and their families is unconstitutional.
Recently in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies to forcibly investigate families and caregivers who provide gender affirming care to their youth, and to “refer for prosecution any such abuse”. However, the night of March 2nd, 2022, President Biden and his administration released a strong statement against these unsubstantial and not legally binding claims and we want to make sure our community, especially trans youth, understand under federal law, trans youth have the right to life-saving gender affirming care.
With the law on our side, we can and will fight these attacks—and trans people, especially trans youth, can continue to use the ACA’s protections and the Office for Civil Rights to advocate for themselves.
Fight back against state anti-transgender and gender affirming care bans and attacks
Learn more about the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to fight back.
Statement from the President Joseph Biden.
Tweet from President Joseph Biden.
Learn more about others’ efforts to fight back.
A growing number of prosecutors are committing to follow the law and refusing to comply with this opinion that encourages investigators to harass loving & supportive adults.
District Attorneys from five major Texan districts condemn Gov. Abbott's order to investigate gender-affirming care as child abuse.
Statement can be found here.
Texas Episcopalian Bishop expressed support for trans youths.
Resources for being a gender affirming care advocate in your community
Not just in Texas, these resources and tools are key to any trans person facing health and transition-related discrimination. Any caregiver who loves and supports their child and is taking them to a licensed healthcare provider for gender affirming care is not engaging in child abuse. No court has ever found that providing trans young people with gender-affirming health care constitutes child abuse.
Statements by major medical organizations in response to Texas, clearly stating that gender affirming care saves lives and it’s not child abuse.
Advocating to get the care you need
You still have a right to health care and social services without discrimination. The Department of Health and Human Services has released several guidance for Texas and other states facing anti-trans attacks, including:
Guidance for state child welfare agencies through an Information Memorandum which clarifies that states should use their child welfare systems to advance safety and support for LGBTQI+ youth, and importantly includes access to gender affirming care. Additionally, they mentioned titles IV-B and IV-E of the Act program requirements that state, county, and tribal child welfare agencies and their federally funded contractors (collectively, title IV-B and IV-E agencies, unless otherwise noted) can use to guide their work when determining how best to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI+1 ) children and youth, including those with non-conforming gender identity or expression who are involved with the child welfare system.
In addition, A Message in Support of LGBTQI+ Children and Youth Who Are Involved with the Child Welfare System
HHS Notice and Guidance on Gender Affirming Care, Civil Rights, and Patient Privacy which clarifies that, despite the Texas government’s threat, health care providers are not required to disclose private patient information related to gender affirming care; making it clear that denials of health care based on gender identity are illegal, as is restricting doctors and health care providers from providing care because of a patient’s gender identity.
If you believe that you or another party has been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity or disability in seeking to access gender affirming health care, visit the OCR complaint portal to file a complaint online.
Other resources, information, and support
Experts Say Gender-Affirming Medical Care Can Be Lifesaving for Youth
Read NCTE’s Know Your Rights resource to find out more about your rights and what to do if you face discrimination.
Have Medicare? Read NCTE’s Know Your Rights resource on Medicare.
Need legal help? Connect with legal organizations.
Southern Equality is providing emergency assistance grants for families of transgender youth in Texas. More information about the fund, click here. If you are interested in donating to this a specific fund to direct families and individuals, there is more information here.
Actions you can take to support trans youth in Texas