Two Sides to the Bill: Gender-Affirming Care for Minors

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The LGBTQ+ community has significantly grown in visibility in the past few years. In every corner of the country, people identify as different genders than they are born with. Support for people expressing themselves has drastically risen, but so has backlash. One such incident where both sides clashed occurred just last month here in Frisco, Texas.

On Monday, May 8, 2023, the Texas Legislature approved a bill banning doctors from providing gender-affirming care for transgender youth. If signed by the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, this bill will go into effect starting September 1 this year. The bill will not allow transgender people under 18 to get transition-related care, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and more. If already started, they are to be waned off in a “medically appropriate” manner. Bottom surgery for transgender minors is somewhat rare, but that will be banned as well. On top of these restrictions, the government is considering more Republican bills interfering with the LGBTQ+ community.

The LGBTQ+ community, including allies, in Texas has not been sitting still. The Friday the bill passed, the community marched in front of the Texas Capitol to protest against it. Even before its passage, Democrats postponed it twice but couldn’t completely stop the bill from ultimately taking effect, assuming Abbott signs it. Being one of the states with the largest LGBTQ+ populations, Texas might soon join the other states that have banned gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

Transgender people face countless issues in their day-to-day life. Yes, there is the issue of transphobia, but there’s more to it. Transgender people have to deal with internal problems with identifying as a different gender. Being transgender means being in a body that one doesn’t identify with, so it is painful to many to see themselves in the mirror looking like a gender they’re not, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and even surgeries help these people ease their mental distress and look more like how they want to by providing a way to modify their bodies.

Before these procedures, transgender people would constantly feel trapped inside their bodies. As ways to express themselves are finally becoming more accessible, bill passage is slowly stripping these ways from them. They now have to wait until they are adults to use these methods, but by then, their bodies will be almost fully developed, making it much harder to transition fully. This bill can detriment the mental health of transgender youth and their parents, as it may force parents of transgender kids to move out of Texas to get their children the support they need to be happy. After establishing roots so long in a set community, it is unfair that these families will have to leave just because of an anti-trans bill.

However, as terrible as the bill seems, there must be some reason the majority voted to pass the bill. Sure, one can easily categorize it as another act of transphobia. But, looking closer at the thought processes of the politicians behind this act and those who agree with them, some seem to have put some thought behind their agreement. Republican State Rep. Tom Oliverson said, “There is no high-quality scientific evidence that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries help children.” Even though that is genuinely false and countless transgender people are happy now because of transition-related medicine, the representative may not have access to trans people in real life to see the effects of it. Perhaps he thought the bill was okay going based on the hard science. Either that, or he is just transphobic. It is hard to tell.

Furthermore, Ruth Potts, a grandmother from Fort Worth, thinks transgender people should wait until 18 to undergo treatment as it is not the time to make decisions, and children should be children. Potts is not against transgender people, or at least that is what it sounds like based on her opinion, but rather, she thinks they should wait until they are old enough to make rational decisions. She wants children to enjoy their lives as children without worrying about significant processes like transitioning. Although the bill may ruin the childhood of several transgender youths, some may have had good intentions behind supporting the bill’s passage. One cannot assume that for everyone, but perhaps the bill was not meant for just oppressing transgender minors.

Looking at both sides of the story, whether the transphobic versus the transgender population and their allies or the thought process and the results, there is reason in both. One cannot say whether the reasoning is right or wrong, but there is reason. Rather than right or wrong, it is best to say there are pros and cons to both sides of the situation.

On one side, it may be better to wait till transgender people are adults so that they are mature enough to make decisions and face the consequences of their actions. What if a child is going through a phase? Some people feel as if they identify as transgender for a couple of years but eventually realize it was short-lived and go back to being cisgender. What if, as a child, they make a rash decision to go on puberty blockers and regret that decision? If they wait until adulthood, they will be old enough to be sure of their choices. Even if the trans person in question made a mistake, as an adult, they should be able to own up to their decision.

On the other hand, as a child who is transgender, they may be in distress throughout their middle and high school years, which is very critical. Is it worth it to let thousands of kids go through depression in their childhood, constantly insecure and trapped in their bodies? Or, if they move out of the state to get gender-affirming care, is it fair that they lose their well-established presence in their current communities to obtain a natural right?

It’s safe to say the situation itself is very tricky. A solution that would honor both sides’ opinions is a difficult one. One such solution would be more advanced surgeries that make one physical composition look like the other much better than they can right now. That way, transgender youth can still achieve the look they want, even if they have to wait until becoming 18. As for enduring psychological distress throughout their childhood, that is something they will have to figure out for themselves. Or, perhaps if one wants to transition, they must sign a contract where if they still feel the same way after 2 or 3 years, they can proceed with the surgery or puberty blockers.

No one solution can make everyone happy. The world needs to realize that. People must be objective, no matter their circumstances, to understand why the government passes such bills. Then, maybe, there can be peace. Happy Pride Month, and thank you for taking the time to read this article.

Works Cited

Melhado, William, and Alex Nguyen. “Pivotal House Vote Moves Texas Closer to Banning Puberty Blockers, Hormone Treatments for Trans Kids.” The Texas Tribune, 12 May 2023, 

Rose, Andy, and Jack Forrest. “Texas Sends Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Minors to Governor’s Desk | CNN Politics.” CNN, 18 May 2023,