Texas bill could mean charges for parents, doctors who allow kids to undergo ‘gender affirmation’ surgeries

Certain states around the country are creating their own laws when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed in terms of transgender guidelines.

Now, Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a crime for parents to allow their kids to undergo a gender affirmation surgery.

While some parents think that allowing their children to make life altering decisions, such as gender change, is in their best interest, some lawmakers disagree.

According to the bill, parents who consent to that treatment could be charged with child abuse.

Texas Senate Bill 1646 was heard during a State Affairs Committee Monday. Dozens of people showed up to the State Capitol to testify for and against the bill, FOX 26 reported

One of the individuals to show up was Kai Shappley, a transgender child. 

Shappley spoke during the meeting and said:

“I’ve been having to explain myself since I was three or four years old. ]Texas legislators have been attacking me since Pre-K. I’m in 4th grade now,” 

Shappley continued:

“It’s been very scary and overwhelming. It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids, like me, to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist. God made me. God loves me and God does not make mistakes,” 

If the bill passes, it would make it a crime for kids under the age of 18 to receive any medical procedures, surgeries or certain prescription drugs that would help with gender transition or reassignment.

Kai’s mother, Kimberly Shappley, who is a registered nurse, also spoke out against the bill, stating that such a law would put transgender kids lives at risk for various reasons.

She also stated that this is not the first time a legislative bill has threatened the wellbeing of trans kids. 

Kai’s family is originally from the Houston area and has already moved once to avoid discrimination.

Kimberly Shappley said:

“In 2018, after the dangerous rhetoric of the Texas legislature’s bathroom bill, I moved my family from Pearland to Austin for the safety and well-being of my daughter.

And I don’t want to move my children again but I’m worried that we might have to. If these bills pass, I’ll have to uproot my family and leave for a state with comprehensive, non-discrimination laws,” 

FOX 26 reported that according to the bill’s proposal, parents who consent to transgender treatments could face child abuse charges and potentially risk losing custody of their kid.

Similarly, doctors who agree to perform gender affirmation surgery could risk losing their medical license.

Also advocating against the bill is the Houston-based organization, Doctors For Change. According to reports, they issued a letter to Texas lawmakers, urging them to vote no, arguing that SB 1646 is an intrusion on patient-provider confidentiality.

Areana Quiñones, the Executive Director of Doctors for Change, said: 

“Children who do identify as transgender have higher rates of suicidality and you know being discriminated against this way, means that they and their guardians will likely not seek affirming and compassionate care,” 

Not everyone is against the bill however, and those who are in favor of it are saying that such a major life-altering decision should not be made until adulthood, as children often make decisions they may later regret after gaining life experience. 

Kevin Whitt weighed in on this, saying:

“A parent of a child should not be given the right to decide to mutilate a child’s body. A child should not have to live with regret due to a childhood decision made for them, leaving them scarred, mutilated and with PTSD stemming from their gender transition,” 

The bill was filed by State Senator Charles Perry from Lubbock and has been co-sponsored by 12 other Republican lawmakers. Two similar bills will be heard in a house committee later this week. 

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California receives 261 transgender prisoners transfer requests under new law – including 255 to women’s prison

April 6, 2021

CALIFORNIA – 261 California inmates have requested transfers to prisons aligning with their claimed gender identity since Gov. Gavin Newsom signed S.B. 132 into law in September allowing prisoners to choose their gender for prison placement.

S.B. 132 requires California correctional facilities to house prisoners in a “correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference.”

255 of the 261 inmates requested to transfer from a male to a female correctional facility. Some officials and women’s rights groups are concerned that such transfers are being made “under false pretenses,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said only six prisoners requested a transfer to a male institution. Deputy Press Secretary Terry Thornton said:

“255 are from transgender women and non-binary incarcerated people who are requesting to be housed in a female institution and six are from transgender men and non-binary incarcerated people who are requesting to be housed in a male institution.”

CDCR reported that no transfer requests based on gender identity have been denied. The agency said that 21 requests have been approved since the signing of the new law and that four have been transferred to the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.

Thornton said that two of the prisoners changed their minds about the transfer request.

Prisoners at Central California Women’s Facility warned that prisoners should expect violence over the transfers. 41-year-old Tomiekia Johnson to the Times that she overheard inmates discussing the transfers:

“That if we think it’s bad now, be prepared for the worst. That it’s going to be off the hook, it’s going to be jumping. They say we’re going to need a facility that’s going to be like a maternity ward.

They say we’re going to have an inmate program where inmates become nannies.”

Prison inmates and staff are concerned over the potential for male inmates to falsely claim to identify as female in order to get into female prisons. Thornton responded to the concerns by pointing to CDCR policy which states:

“CDCR’s classification process includes a thorough review of the incarcerated person’s history prior to and during incarceration, their crime, arrest and criminal history, trial and sentencing documentation, medical and mental health needs, custody level, time to serve, safety concerns, and other factors including security and program needs.

Medical and mental health care staff members are part of this process.

“Information documented includes their age, disabilities, gender identity, personal and criminal history, prior incarcerations, prior incidents of victimization either in custody or in the community, and convictions for sex offenses.

Based on the information gathered in the PREA Screening Tool, an inmate will be given one of three designations: at risk as a victim, at risk as an abuser, or not identified as being at risk.

Inmates at risk as a victim cannot be housed in a cell with an inmate identified as being at risk as an abuser.”

The law was passed with the intention of reducing sexual offenses against transgender inmates. However, the policy is not likely to calm the nerves of female prisoners concerned about violence generated from allowing men into female prisons.

A similar policy in Canada allows trans-identifying male prisoners to be housed in female prisons and women’s rights groups have been protesting the practice.

 Heather Mason, head of the Canadian chapter of the international “Keep Prisons Single Sex” campaign, said women are the victims of such policies:

“Female offenders from indigenous communities make up 42 percent of the Canadian prison population. Many of them already come from abusive situations but are afraid to speak up and suffer the consequences.”

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Author: K. Winters

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