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Mixed reactions from Texans after Paxton labels sex-change procedure 'child abuse'

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 19:56:17-05

WACO, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott has asked the Department of Family and Protective Services to look into children or teens going through sex-change procedures just one day after Attorney General Ken Paxton called the process child abuse. It's now drawing mixed reactions from Texas statewide.

For the Texas Values organization, this was a welcome announcement.

"I'm very pleased," Texas Values Senior Policy Advisor Mary Castle told 25 News. "These hormones of pubity blockers and even the procedures themselves are permanent procedures and medications that can have life altering effects."

Groups like the Transgender Education Network of Texas call this a "scary time" that could lead to higher depression rates among transgender youth.

"This leadership has very much said loud and clear they'd rather see dead kids than trans kids who are alive in the state," TENT Executive Director Emmett Schelling said. "It just makes me sick because we know kids are killing themselves."

Supporters say children shouldn't make life-changing decisions while their brain is still developing, but trans advocates disagree.

"Kids figuring out who they are and having options to explore isn't something to be scared of," Lucas Land, a father of a trans teen, said. "It's something to be celebrated and affirm that they don't have to hide their feelings."

Land said he has supported his son since coming out and legislation like this makes him reconsider having his family in Texas.

"I love Texas. This is where my family is, this is home," he said. "For the first time in my life I'm thinking about will I need to move somewhere safer for my kid."

While state leaders actions push some Texans out, others say there's still more work to be done and this was just the first step to protect Texas children.

"The AG's opinion really helped to move the ball forward and getting people to realize the dangers of gender modification and the seriousness of the issue," Castle said. "It'll also politically motivate legislatures to get legislation to help protect children from this process."

"It's really scary," Land said. "It's very scary as a parent."