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Activist poses chilling scenarios parents of trans kids may face as Texas Gov. labels them abusers

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This week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter demanding the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigate parents who support their transgender children and allow them access to gender affirming medical care prescribed by their doctors.

In response, trans advocate Gillian Branstetter, the press secretary of the National Women’s Law Center, has been posting some of the horrific situations supportive parents of trans kids in the state may now find themselves in.

Related: Texas DA’s refuse to uphold Governor’s order to investigate parents of trans kids for “child abuse”

“POV: You’re the single mother of a 14-year-old transgender boy and you have sole custody from your abusive ex-husband,” Branstetter tweeted. “He demands you revoke your PFA [protection from abuse order] and cancel your child support agreement or he’ll report you as a child abuser. What do you do?”

In another tweet, she puts readers in the minds of a hypothetical 16-year old trans girl who just moved to Dallas.

“You begin dating a boy and confide in him that you’re trans. He threatens you, and says he’ll report your family unless you do what he says. What do you do? Who can you talk to?”

A third scenario posits, “You’re the mother of an 11-year-old trans kid in Texas. One of your child’s classmates caught COVID and now your kid has a fever of 102 and a hacking cough. Do you take them to the ER, knowing the nurses may report you as a child abuser?”

With permission, Branstetter has also been sharing notes she has received from the terrified parents of trans youth.

“I’m so scared for her,” wrote the mother of a 14-year-old trans girl who lives outside of Houston.

She added, “I can’t take her to the doctor or have her dress like she wants or change her name or get her affirming care even therapy because then what will that be coercion to accept abuse? Mind control?”

The mother also feared what would happen if her daughter was ever actually taken away from her.

“When they remove the kids because the abuse doesn’t stop, are they going into housing where people will abuse them and make them detransition? Every prospect scares me for her.”

Branstetter also pointed out that the message was sent at 3:49 a.m. “This is what is keeping parents up at night,” she said.

A father of a trans daughter who is receiving gender affirming care recently moved with his family to Texas and told Branstetter they are now considering leaving.

“I never thought I would have to be a refugee in my own country and consider relocating because my family’s safety – and our ability to remain a family – was jeopardized.”

Last year, the Texas legislature tried and failed to pass S.B. 1646, a bill that would have declared parents who allow their trans children to take puberty blockers or hormone therapy to be child abusers.

Earlier this week, the attorney general of Texas, Republican Ken Paxton, issued a non-binding opinion stating that gender affirming health care for transgender youth is a form of child abuse. His main reasoning for calling gender affirming care child abuse is that trans people might not be able to make babies with certain kinds of gender affirming care.

Citing Paxton’s opinion, Abbott’s order says that it’s “clear” that “it is already against the law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilizations, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen.”

Abbott’s letter also says that “doctors, nurses, and teachers” should face “criminal penalties” if they don’t report parents to state authorities if they believe that parents are helping their children access gender affirming health care.

District and county attorneys across the state have since spoken out against Abbott. DA’s in five of the state’s biggest counties released a joint statement proclaiming their refusal to abide by Abbott’s order.

“We will enforce the Constitution and will not irrationally and unjustifiably interfere with medical decisions made between children, their parents, and their medical physicians,” they wrote.

“We want to assure our residents with transgender children that they are safe to continue seeking the care their children need. We will not allow the Governor and Attorney General to disregard Texan children’s lives in order to score political points.”

Branstetter also posted a call to action against Abbott.

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