The United States Women’s National Team was in Texas last night, which could not have come at a better time after news went viral from the state’s governor’s office.
On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbot sent out a letter to the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In it, he supports state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s interpretation of Texas child abuse law. Gov. Abbott wrote that “gender transitioning procedures,” including surgery or hormone therapy, must be reported by licensed professionals and parents of those children can be investigated.
The USWNT won their SheBelieves cup title game against Iceland, 5-0, in Frisco, Texas. During the game they let it be known that the supported transgender youths Texas who might be in tough place after hearing the news of the letter, by taping up their wrists and writing, “Protect Trans Kids.”
Several national health organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, encourage age-appropriate and individualized care for transgender youths. In December, a study by The Trevor Project — per its Twitter profile, the largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth — was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study was the first of its kind that looked into the benefits Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) in relation to suicide prevention and depression. It concluded that there is a “relationship between access to GAHT and lower rates of depression and suicidality among transgender and nonbinary youth.”
This directive from Texas is but one example of certain states trying to reinforce heterosexual norms and a further undo the gains of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century. Today, the Florida House of Representatives is voting on a bill that would forbid “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
The fear of the boogeyman known as Critical Race Theory has resulted in bills in state legislatures across America that restrict how race can be discussed in schools. A law that was passed in Tennessee states that public schools cannot teach privilege or lessons that make a group feel uncomfortable because of their race or sex. Because of course racism being omnipresent in society has nothing to do with states trying to change how a generation of children are being taught about it.
The overwhelming problem with these government directives, of course, is that licensed professionals such as teachers and doctors have an obligation to protect children from harm. By legally restricting what they can say and do when it comes to race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, it increases harm. The avenues through which they can help marginalized children are being lessened by legislation. Licensed professionals who deal with children should be given the most latitude to do their jobs. If state legislatures need a real issue to sink their teeth into, here’s Simone Biles giving them one when speaking before the United State Senate about the real abuse she suffered at the hands of a doctor.
For those who want to get bent out of shape about too much race talk with their sports and in their schools or Lia Thomas performing well in Ivy League swim meets that correspond with her gender instead of her sex assigned at birth, that’s one way to approach life. But, what the USWNT wrote on their wrists is what we need to be doing with our children, protecting them.
Protect LGBTQ youths from the suffering they endure (that makes them four times more likely than other children to seriously consider suicide). Protect young Black children from all the ways they are more likely to die than other children. Protect all children from the distribution of White Supremacist propaganda reaching an all-time high.
That’s what protection is supposed to be. Not punishing those who are trying to make a scary world a bit easier to deal with for a child that doesn’t know what to do.