Op-ed: Greg Abbott Attacked Trans Children for Right-Wing Votes

by | May 18, 2022 | LGBTQ Rights, Opinion

The government of Texas is seemingly at war with trans children. In 2021, the Texas Legislature saw more than 40 proposed bills that pushed anti-trans rhetoric, the most in the country. This included a bill signed into law by Governor Abbott that restricted trans youth from participating in school sports. The latest attack on trans children came in February, right before early voting started in the Republican primaries on March 1. 

In February 2022, Governor Greg Abbott penned a letter instructing Texas state agencies to begin investigating parents who allow their children to receive gender-affirming care for charges of child abuse. The governor also announced that “doctors, nurses, and teachers” as well as “members of the general public” would be required to report children who “may be subject to such abuse.” This directive essentially turns the Texas public into a vigilante force against trans children and their families, creating unsafe spaces for a group that already faces significant threat from their communities and peers. 

How vile does one have to be to harm children? It is genuinely evil to cause parents to fear losing their child purely because they desire necessary medical treatment for their kid, and even more so to force children to fear being taken away from their parents. It is simply nauseating to watch an elected official, who has been tasked with the protection of the people of this state, attack trans youth, one of Texas’s most vulnerable groups. 

Despite claims of “protecting our children,” it is clear that this new directive would do the exact opposite. In 2021, the Trevor Project reported that more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. In fact, according to the CDC, the rate of suicide attempt for transgender youth is around three times higher than the rate among cisgender youth. Access to gender-affirming care, such as the pubertal suppression treatment that Abbott’s directive is labeling child abuse, has been proven to significantly lower the odds of suicidal ideation. 

Furthermore, Abbott’s policy is in direct opposition to the medical opinions of the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, which have both emphasized the necessity of gender affirming care, with the former explicitly calling legislation against gender-affirming care “a dangerous governmental intrusion into the practice of medicine.” 

The most simple question here is why. Why does the governor insist on not heeding the advice of the medical community on this strictly medical issue? Why does Greg Abbott have such a despicable vendetta against Texas children? Other than his obvious bigotry, the answer is more abhorrent than one might think. Governor Greg Abbott, the supposed leader of our state and protector of the Texan people, is waging war on Texan families and children for nothing more than his own personal gain. 

Nowadays Republican candidates dread primary challengers just as much as the general election, and this year, Greg Abbott was no exception. Although Abbott’s challengers, Allen West and Don Huffines, failed to force him into a runoff election, they succeeded in doing one thing: forcing him to the right. This pattern took hold on the issue of gender-affirming care, with Texas children caught in the crossfire. 

In a video uploaded in August 2021 attacking the DFPS for having gender-affirming care information on their website (which was unfortunately quickly taken down), Huffines declared that: “these are not Texas values. These are not Republican party values. But these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values.” 

Abbott’s primary challengers pressed him on this issue, and Abbott folded, running to the right and showing time and time again that he was willing to put his own political power above the lives and wellbeing of Texas children.

It is no coincidence that the February directive against trans children came right before the start of early voting in the Republican primary. Greg Abbott was using the children of Texas as collateral by throwing red meat to his base, attempting to edge out his challengers and clutch cravenly onto power. This policy was nothing more than a filthy political stunt, one with real consequences for families across the state of Texas. In doing this, Abbott has once again proven himself unworthy of public office and unfit to hold a position that requires ensuring the protection of all Texans. It is a repulsive thing to be a bigot, and a somehow far more odious thing to be a bigot in the name of personal gain. Abbott’s actions are morally reprehensible and characteristic of the weak man he has proven himself to be. 

Greg Abbott is attacking the wellbeing of children in order to desperately cling to power. There’s only one name for a man who threatens children and their families for political gain. 

A gutless coward.

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