“There are…more than two dozen discriminatory bills that call out transgender children,” said Democratic county Judge Lina Hidalgo.
Calling the texts of such bills “heartbreaking,” Hidalgo read her resolution proclaiming opposition to bills “related to the medical care of transgender children, criminalization of gender-affirming care, and the participation by transgender children in youth sports.”
In expressing his support for the resolution, Commissioner Adrian Garcia (D-Pct. 2) said that the Harris County Jail and sheriff’s office had done more “to make the jail a safe place for transgender people than the legislature has done to make the schools a safe place.”
Garcia also expressed concern that transgender children were at increased risk for suicide, although earlier this month Kevin Stuart of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture testified before a state senate committee that individuals with gender dysphoria who transition have increased rates of suicide.
Pastor Dave Welch of the Houston Area Pastor Council and president of the Texas Pastor Council, who said he was speaking on behalf of many pastors in Harris County, urged the court to reject the resolution.
“It is important to note on record that we are aware of no legislation that ‘may seek to prevent physicians and medical care providers from delivering adequate care to transgender children’ as this resolution states,” said Welch. “There is however legislation that protects minors from permanent and damaging treatments and surgeries for which they should have the right to decide for themselves as adults.”
Commissioner Jack Cagle (R-Pct. 4) explained that he could not support Hidalgo’s resolution since it involved allowing minors to make permanent life-altering decisions, and he asserted that allowing biological males to participate in girls’ sports would be unfair to biological females.
“Although it seems to be compassionate towards the XY individual who wants to compete in the XX sport…it is not compassionate at all to those who are [in] the XX sports,” said Cagle.
“Judge, I think we create unsafe conditions on the soccer field when we have the 125-pound girl having to compete against the XY individual who is twice their weight on the field. I think that creates unsafe conditions. I also think, judge, that it is unfair.”
Commissioner Tom Ramsey (R-Pct. 3) added that “common sense would say that girls should not have to compete with boys.”
“I will respectfully vote against us telling the legislature and the State of Texas what to do,” said Cagle.
The Harris County vote coincided with a Texas Senate vote Tuesday to approve legislation that would expand definitions of child abuse to include the performance of surgeries or the administration of puberty-blocking drugs to children for the purpose of gender reassignment. The 18 to 13 vote approval was on a second reading of the bill and will require a third vote to move forward for House consideration.
Also on Tuesday, the Texas House Committee on Public Health approved House Bill 1399 that specifically prohibits any surgery that sterilizes a child or cuts away healthy body tissue.
The legislation, authored by Reps. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress), Cole Hefner (R- Mt. Pleasant), and Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), would also forbid doctors from giving children cross-sex hormones or any drugs to block or slow puberty.
Numerous other bills banning sex-change procedures for children are proceeding through the legislature, and the Senate has also passed legislation that would require public school athletes to compete based on their biological sex.
A copy of the resolution can be found below.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.