March 18 is Transgender Day of Safety

On February 22, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) directing the agency to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender children as cases of child abuse [1]. Abbott’s directive cites Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion that certain varieties of gender-affirming care, including reassignment surgeries, constitute abuse [1].

Paxton’s opinion and Abbott’s directive disregard existing research that supports gender-affirming care as medically necessary and potentially life-saving for transgender youth [2], who possess statistically higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation [3].

Furthermore, the directive and Attorney General’s opinion indicate a misunderstanding of what constitutes gender-affirming care for children; rarely, if at all, are trans children receiving any medical assistance in their transition apart from hormone or puberty blockers (which delay puberty and cause no permanent changes) [4].

This directive has already led to the investigation of the parents of children receiving gender-affirming care [5] and has caused some organizations, such as the Texas Children’s Hospital, to stop providing gender-affirming services to their trans patients [6].

In response to this attack on trans youth, their families, and their healthcare providers, Sylvester Turner—Mayor of Houston—and the City Council of Houston partnered with Black Transwomen Inc, Equality Texas, The Mahogany Project, and Save Our Sisters United to proclaim March 18, 2022, as Transgender Day of Safety.

In recognizing this proclamation, the city of Houston, Texas stands in solidarity with their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community members by protecting their rights to safety and healthcare, as well as by opposing actions that negatively impact their well-being and rights.