GLAAD RESPONDS TO THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS TO SUPPORT TRANSGENDER YOUTH AND FAMILIES IN TEXAS FROM STATE-SPONSORED DISCRIMINATION

March 3, 2022

 

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to statements and actions from President Joe Biden and the Department of Health and Human Services to protect transgender youth and their families from discriminatory orders in Texas.

The White House released a statement from President Biden last night that said in part: “Respected medical organizations have said that access to gender-affirming care for transgender children can benefit mental health, lower suicide rates, and improve other health outcomes. Children, their parents, and their doctors should have the freedom to make the medical decisions that are best for each young person—without politicians getting in the way. In the United States of America, we respect the rights and dignity of all families. Transgender children bring fulfillment to their parents, joy to their friends, and are made in the image of God. Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized.”

President Biden’s statement accompanied actions announced by the Department of Health and Human Services, including:

  • Releasing guidance to state child welfare agencies that makes clear that states should use their child welfare systems to advance safety and support for LGBTQ youth,  and their access to gender affirming care;
  • Releasing guidance on patient privacy, clarifying that health care providers are not required to disclose private patient information related to gender affirming care; 
  • Reiterating guidance that denials of health care based on gender identity are illegal;
  • Exploring all options to protect kids, their parents, caretakers and families; 
  • Ensuring that families and health care providers in Texas are aware of all the resources available to them if they face discrimination as a result of this discriminatory gubernatorial order - including alerting families to visit the Office for Civil Rights complaint portal to file a complaint if they believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity in seeking access to gender-affirming care, and to email OCRPrivacy@hhs.gov or call Toll-free:  (800) 368-1019

Governor Greg Abbott’s memo last week encouraging investigations into families of trans youth, days before the primary election in Texas, was met with widespread alarm and condemnation from healthcare providers, local media, and district attorneys who said they would ignore the guidance as it is unconstitutional, disturbing and an “egregious invasion of privacy.” On Thursday, the Travis County District Court ordered the state to halt an investigation into a trans child's parent, who works for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

A senior adviser for Gov. Abbott’s reelection campaign, Dave Carney, was quoted this week saying he considers the targeting of trans youth and their families  “a 75, 80 percent winner” for Abbott. As of Thursday, Abbott had not cracked 67% of the total GOP primary vote.

Every major medical association supports gender-affirming care as evidence-based, safe and lifesaving, and have issued statements condemning the memos from Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton. Statements here: https://www.glaad.org/blog/medical-association-statements-supporting-trans-youth-healthcare-and-against-discriminatory

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded on Twitter, and here:
“Health and Human Services is sending clear and direct guidance to every child agency that their number one job is to protect children, and that includes protection from discriminatory behavior and orders from elected officials targeting them. Governor Abbott’s campaign adviser recently admitted that he sees attacking vulnerable youth as a campaign strategy. Here is the truth: spreading disinformation about LGBTQ people puts children and families in danger. President Biden and HHS are basing their policies in recommendations from every major medical association supporting gender-affirming care as evidence-based and lifesaving for vulnerable youth. President Biden accurately said that affirming a trans child’s identity is one of the best things that a parent, teacher or doctor can do to protect them from harm. These are huge steps reflecting growing LGBTQ acceptance, representation and visibility at the highest levels of government, with actions and statements that will save lives. GLAAD urges every American to demand their elected officials follow the President’s lead to protect the most marginalized citizens, secure their rights to live in safety, and amplify facts over misinformation weaponized for political gain.”

GLAAD is documenting the Biden administration’s moves for LGBTQ Americans in our Biden Accountability Tracker - now at 114 in just over a year since President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, including his inclusion of LGBTQ people in his first-ever State of the Union address on Tuesday, where he said: “For our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is simply wrong. As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”

The Equality Act, providing comprehensive protections against discrimination for every LGBTQ American as well as expanding protections for women, people of faith and people of color, passed the House one year ago; it has stalled in the deadlocked Senate.

195 bills have been proposed in 2022, most (104) targeting transgender people and youth, with a surge of anti-LGBTQ school policy bills (77) that ban classroom conversation and books about LGBTQ people under the guise of “parents’ rights,” like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Iowa’s governor signed a bill into law today banning trans children from school sports; Indiana’s legislature passed a bill on Tuesday banning transgender girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade from school sports, one of 48 similar bills proposed this year.