*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen criticized Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott for empowering the state to open child abuse investigations into families whose children receive gender affirming procedures.
Cohen said Abbott's order goes against established medical science despite the fact that studies show that transgender adults with access to puberty blockers as teens were less likely to have suicidal thoughts.
He further condemned Abbott's hypocrisy for, like many Republicans, pushing harmful legislation while running campaigns centered around a "pro-family" stance.
You can hear what Cohen said in the video below.
Cohen issued his remarks at the end of the March 1 episode of Watch What Happens Live, noting that the state had already authorized investigating parents of transgender teens for child abuse:
"You might have heard that the governor recently ordered that parents of transgender children who give their kids gender-affirming care should be investigated for child abuse. You heard that correctly."
He pointed out that prominent medical organizations have stated that gender-affirming care is crucial to safeguarding the health of transgender kids and rebuked Abbott's "pro-family" stance:
"His [Abbott's] order goes against the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and everyone who knows that gender-affirming care reduces emotional distress and the risk of suicide in kids who identify as transgender."
"I can’t believe I have to say this, but there is nothing pro-family about denying children medical care and threatening to rip them from their homes and families."
Cohen said transgender kids "belong" and pledged to "stand with you" before excoriating Abbott, who he called a "bully":
“Picking on vulnerable children in an election year does not make you a leader, it makes you a bully. The best way to stand up to this bully is to vote like your life depends on it. Because for a lot of transgender kids in Texas, it does.”
Abbott issued an order requiring state agencies to open child-abuse investigations into families whose children receive gender-affirming procedures after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, also a Republican, said in a statement that some types of gender-affirming health care for transgender youth is “abuse.”
Paxton said that hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex reassignment procedures “are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted" while declaring that “there is no scientific consensus that these sterilizing procedures and treatments" actually benefit "minor children dealing with gender dysphoria.”
Later, Abbott released a statement backing Paxton, saying that Texas law "provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse" and imposes reporting requirements upon any licensed professionals who may have direct contact with children.
Many have praised Cohen for speaking out and condemned Abbott's move.
Last year, Texas lawmakers made clear that they would consider legislation that would make providing gender-affirming care tantamount to child abuse.
A bill sponsored by State Senator Charles Perry, a Republican, would make “administering or supplying, or consenting to or assisting in the administering or supplying of” gender reassignment surgery or puberty blockers a criminal offense and violation of the state’s child protection laws.
Studies show transgender teens are more likely to be subjected to violence in high school and have higher rates of suicide. A recent study showed that transgender adults with access to puberty blockers as teens were less likely to have suicidal thoughts.
The study, published in Pediatrics, concluded that "those who received treatment with pubertal suppression, when compared with those who wanted pubertal suppression but did not receive it, had lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation.
LGBTQ+ Youth can get help through:
- TrevorChat — 24/7/365 at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/#services
- TrevorLifeline — phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386
- TrevorText — Text “START” to 678678. Available 24/7/365.
- TrevorSpace — online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends at https://www.trevorspace.org/
- Trevor Support Center — LGBTQ youth & allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/trevor-support-center/#sm.0000121hx9lvicotqs52mb1saenel