IssuesStatewide NewsMajority of Texans Say Child Sex Change Procedures are ‘Child Abuse’ in New Poll

A new University of Houston poll found that 57 percent of Texans support legislation classifying sex change procedures for minors as child abuse.
February 1, 2023
Most Texans support a prohibition on changing the sex on a child’s birth certificate and think seeking medical or mental health care to change the biological sex of a child should be classified as child abuse, according to poll results released Wednesday.

In the fourth of seven polls on Texas legislative issues conducted by the University of Houston (UH) Hobby School of Public Affairs, pollsters queried 1,200 respondents about so-called “culture war” issues such as child sex change policies, public school sex education, and the definition of marriage.

The poll found that 65 percent of respondents favor a ban on changing the sex on a child’s birth certificate unless there was a clerical error or the minor had atypical or ambiguous sex organs. Blacks and Latinos supported the proposed ban by 70 and 60 percent respectively, while just 45 percent of Democrats approved.

The question over treatment for minors derived from legislation proposed by Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City), and asked about support for classifying “as child abuse in Texas any gender-affirming care sought by parents from medical or mental health professionals to change or affirm their child’s perception of the child’s sex if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex.”

While 57 percent of respondents supported the proposal, including 53 percent of blacks and Latinos, only 36 percent of Democrats expressed support.

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“It is encouraging to see 57 percent of Texans support ending this barbaric practice, including over 30 percent of Democrats,” Slaton said in a statement to The Texan. “And this is with the report referring to it as ‘gender affirming care.’”

UH pollsters chose not to ask a separate question based on a proposal introduced by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) and co-authored by Sens. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) that would specifically ban genital mutilation on minors and impose criminal penalties on violators.

On a question about marriage, 62 percent of those polled favored amending the Texas Constitution to remove a 2005 voter-approved amendment defining marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman. Although the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges declared same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, former Rep. James White (R-Hilliston) in 2021 sought an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton on whether the ruling required private citizens to recognize homosexual marriage.

Regarding a proposal from Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress), 71 percent favored requiring publishers selling books to Texas public schools to include a content rating, including 90 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Independents, and 54 percent of Democrats.

All political groups also expressed support for legislation that would require parental approval for any sexuality instruction at public schools with total approval at 69 percent.

Respondents further approved proposals to require every public school district to offer ethnic studies “as required curriculum,” and for the removal of Confederate Heroes Day from the list of official state holidays.

The only proposal not favored by a majority of respondents was a plan to strip college and university faculty of tenure if they teach “critical race theory,” a plan floated by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick since last year. Only 48 percent approved, with 72 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats in favor.

UH has issued three other reports on 2023 legislation issues covering the state budget surplus, legalized gambling, and school choice. Upcoming reports will consider legalization of marijuana, abortion, firearms, elections, immigration, and energy.

A copy of the UH poll can be found below.


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Holly Hansen

Holly Hansen is a regional reporter for The Texan 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.