AUSTIN (Nexstar) — House Bill 1399, a bill that would ban gender reassignment surgeries and procedures for anyone under 18 in Texas, awaits a second reading on the House floor this week.
The bill, authored by Republican State Rep. Matt Krause, (R-Fort Worth), would introduce penalties including stripping doctors of their license if they perform such surgeries and banning insurance providers from covering the costs of the procedures.
Republicans argue the bill is necessary, because many of the surgeries are irreversible, and children’s brains aren’t fully developed before the age of 18.
Democrats and advocates for transgender children, however, call the bill discriminatory and harmful to the trans community. A group of parents of transgender children gathered to protest the bill Wednesday at the Capitol.
“I’d like to ask lawmakers if you can’t open your hearts and minds to understand who we are and who our kids are, to just stay out of our business and allow us to make decisions with health care professionals on our own,” said Anna Eastman, a Houston mother of a transgender daughter, at the press conference Wednesday.
Molly Carnes, whose daughter is transgender, said the gender-affirming surgeries are life saving in many cases. She explained how her daughter felt before her surgery.
“Imagine the ugliest itchy sweater ever, and you have to wear it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, forever. She was so uncomfortable in her own skin that she was planning to kill herself rather than go through life as a man. And in consultation with expert providers, we got her life-saving, reversible care for gender dysphoria,” Carnes said.
But not all parents of transgender children agree.
We spoke with a mother, wanting to remain anonymous to keep her child’s identity private, who fully supports the bill. She said she’s concerned the children who receive the surgery will regret it in their adult life, especially if they end up wanting kids of their own.
“It’s not just their reproductive capacity that’s being thwarted. It’s everything. It’s the puberty blockers, especially like if you take those drugs, it stops your development totally,” she said.
She said she wishes more attention would go to offering other mental health resources to these children instead of surgeries.
“Why don’t they let their kids just grow up and get them real help or ask for doctors to start doing more research to find out why these kids are reaching this conclusion?” she said.
If it’s not read by midnight Thursday, the bill will be dead this session.