On Tuesday, March 1, US President Joe Biden proclaimed his support for young Trans Americans, on the same day the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Texas governor Gregg Abbott.
“The onslaught of state laws targeting Transgender Americans and their families is wrong,” President Biden declared in his State of the Union address.
“As I said last year, especially to our younger Transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”
Biden calls the onslaught of anti-trans bills wrong/ calls for the Equality Act:
"As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential."#SOTU2022
— Kate Sosin (@shoeleatherkate) March 2, 2022
Amid his pledge to support Trans youth and the ongoing controversy in Texas, President Biden also called on Congress to ‘finally’ pass the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ+ individuals by adding them to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act was passed in February by the House of Representatives but hasn’t since moved from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The president’s address was set against the backdrop of the lawsuit by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) to block the Senate Bill 1646, which calls Trans care for young people “child abuse”.
BREAKING: We are suing to block the state of Texas from investigating parents who support their transgender kids.
Trans youth and their families have been under attack for too long. Enough is enough.
— ACLU of Texas (@ACLUTx) March 1, 2022
Bill 1646 classifies gender-affirming care as child abuse and threatens the parents and guardians of Trans youth with an investigation by state officials. It further says that educators, healthcare providers, children’s services professionals and private citizens could face criminal penalties for “failing to report such child abuse”.
A statement from ACLU to ABC in response to the bill reads: “This is dangerous, dehumanizing, and terrifying to Trans youth and their supportive families. The declaration will have devastating consequences – and we are already seeing them.
This directive is a transparently political attack that is beyond the Governor’s legal authority.
But we understand why families are terrified. At least one family has already had an investigator show up at their door.
We’re asking a court to stop this NOW.
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 1, 2022
“Abbott and Paxton [Attorney General Ken Paxton, who passed judgment], along with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, want to investigate families simply for following best practice medicine and supporting their Trans kids through lifesaving, medically necessary health care. Texas political leaders lack the legal authority to enforce this declaration and separate Trans youth from their families. But that hasn’t stopped investigations from starting.”
A recent study by the Texas Tribune found that over 40% of Transgender youth attempt suicide, while research by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows that young Trans people are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers.
We rushed to court this morning to try to stop this. Families across Texas are being investigated and care is being halted. It is a disaster. They are trying to stop kids from being trans – but you can't make us not trans you can only make us not alive. https://t.co/ksuI8whjV4
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 1, 2022
Chase Strangio, staff attorney for the ACLU, Tweeted out in response to the first investigations of a Trans youth’s parent, saying, “We rushed to court this morning to try to stop this. Families across Texas are being investigated and care is being halted. It is a disaster. They are trying to stop kids from being Trans – but you can’t make us not Trans you can only make us not alive.”
ACLU, alongside Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ+ civil rights group, is arguing that the directive has no legal effect and can’t override families’ constitutional rights in Texas. They also claim that redefining vital healthcare for Trans youth as “child abuse” is not within the governor and attorney general’s power.
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