Sociologists for Trans Justice (S4TJ) and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) strongly condemn the recent directive by Texas governor Greg Abbott which cruelly targets transgender youth and their families. The governor’s claim that gender-affirming care is a form of “abuse” is both unfounded and dangerous. Access to gender-affirming care is fundamental health care; research shows that appropriate care improves the mental health and overall well-being of transgender youth, enabling them to live full and flourishing lives. Furthermore, the state-sanctioned persecution of parents who support transgender and gender non-conforming children stokes a culture of fear, threatens safety, and erodes the communities and social supports that are essential for these youth to thrive. Moreover, because this order directs the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate instances of providing gender-affirmative care to transgender youth, it will disproportionately target low-income families and communities of color, who are already highly surveilled by state protective services. Transgender youth experiences with child protective services increase their chances of experiencing homelessness and multiple placements in the foster care system.
For these reasons, we oppose this order and all similar legislation in the strongest possible terms. This directive is part of a larger assault on transgender youth; over 30 states are currently considering anti-transgender legislation. Transgender, intersex, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people deserve to be treated with the same social respect that all people deserve.
To the transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth who may see this: your existence is real and valid. You deserve every single opportunity that your cisgender peers have, whether that is to play sports, go to the restroom, learn in school, or get the health care that you need. You deserve to live life to the fullest and pursue your dreams. We see you and we are fighting for you.
As organizations dedicated to advocating for transgender justice within the academy, as well as to using our scholarly insights — drawn from the social sciences, public health, and the humanities — to advance national conversations about transgender, non-binary, and intersex communities, we believe we have an immediate responsibility to extend the reach of our expertise on gender, trans people’s experiences and outcomes, public policy, and related topics beyond paywalls and conference fees. Organizations like ours have the expertise and data that matter. As a first step, S4TJ has created the #ProtectTransYouth Reader, a list of sociological scholarship on transgender youth produced by our organizational members.
We call upon fellow scholars, especially those who benefit from cisgender privilege, to use our positions to support the fundamental human rights of transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive people in this country. We encourage everyone to share this statement, write and call your representatives to demand that they vote against bills that harm transgender youth, and consider supporting the organizations listed below:
About S4TJ and CATS
Founded in 2016, Sociologists for Trans Justice (S4TJ) is committed to advancing public understanding of trans, non-binary, and intersex issues – in particular, to enter sociological insights into the national conversation about the status of trans, non-binary, and intersex communities. For more information, visit our website at www.s4tj.com
The Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) is an independent nonprofit research organization dedicated to scholarship on the social, cultural, and political conditions of transgender life. CATS aims to facilitate and promote the empirical study of transgender issues with the ultimate aim of informing policy-making and public discourse in ways that improve quality of life for the transgender community. For more information, visit our website at www.appliedtransstudies.org