The heap of laws addresses everything from fentanyl deaths to school safety to precautions around COVID-19 , the Texas Tribune reported . But perhaps the most contentious were those addressing LGBT issues; different bills banned the giving of puberty blockers to children, transgender procedures, sexually explicit public performances (such as drag shows), and restricted transgender athletes in sports.
The bills related to LGBT topics came under legal fire from activists, who attempted to block the imposition of the laws ahead of their enactment date of Sept. 1.
The laws blocking puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone replacement, and transition surgeries for minors were particularly targeted by activists.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 14, which bans puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone replacement, and transition surgeries for children, in June. A group of activists filed a lawsuit to block the law on July 13, using legal arguments similar to those that halted similar bills in Arkansas , Florida , and Tennessee .
“The attack that Texas legislators and the governor have launched against transgender youth and their families and providers is stunning in its cruelty,” Paul D. Castillo, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, which filed the lawsuit, said.
“They are actively ignoring the science, dismissing best-practice medical care, intervening in a parent’s right to care for and love their child, and explicitly exposing trans youth in Texas to rampant discrimination. This law is not just harmful and cruel, it is life-threatening.”
The group won a temporary injunction from state district court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel on Aug. 25. However, the state’s attorney general’s office appealed the decision, which sent it to the Texas Supreme Court, automatically pausing the injunction.
In her Aug. 25 decision, Cantú Hexsel claimed that the law “interferes with Texas families’ private decisions and strips Texas parents … of the right to seek, direct, and provide medical care for their children.” The appeal from the attorney general’s office contested the assertion, pointing to the “unproven” nature of the procedures involved.
The activists filed an emergency request asking the state Supreme Court to temporarily block the law from going into effect, but the court ruled against them on Thursday, clearing the way for the law to be enacted on Friday, the Texas Tribune reported .
Restrictions on puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone replacement, and gender transition surgeries for minors are popular among Texas voters. An April poll from the Texas Politics Project found that 58% of voters support restrictions, even when labeled “gender-affirming care.” Only 29% of voters opposed restrictions.
The American College of Pediatricians, a conservative medical advocacy group, has disputed the claims of activists who argue for the aforementioned transgender treatments, arguing instead that they are not only unproven but dangerous.
“There is not a single long-term study to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for transgender-believing youth,” the group said. “This means that youth transition is experimental, and therefore, parents cannot provide informed consent, nor can minors provide assent for these interventions. Moreover, the best long-term evidence we have among adults shows that medical intervention fails to reduce suicide.”