AUSTIN, Texas — Trans rights groups in Texas and across the country are pushing back against Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to state agencies to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender kids as possible child abuse. 

“I think all kids regardless of race, gender, class or sexual identity deserve to live happy and authentic lives without government intrusion,” said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas. “And the effort in Texas to ban lifesaving care is outrageous and truly an abuse of power.” 

On Monday, Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital in the country, announced they were pausing hormone therapies for transgender kids.

“The mission of Texas Children’s Hospital is to create a healthier future for all children, including transgender children, within the bounds of the law,” the hospital said in a statement. “After assessing the attorney general’s and governor’s actions, Texas Children’s Hospital paused hormone-related prescription therapies for gender-affirming services. This step was taken to safeguard our health care professionals and impacted families from potential criminal legal ramifications.” 

Martinez says that many people are confused over what treatment for young trans kids really is. Most medical groups support gender-affirming care to treat trans kids, and those therapies are almost always reversible and not permanent. 

“For young kids, gender affirming care really focuses on social transition, using different pronouns, changing hair styles,” said Martinez. “Affirming and loving kids is not child abuse.” 

Other treatments, like hormone blockers, are reversible and are used to treat multiple types of medical issues. 

Last week, a judge issued a temporary stay in one child abuse case, and was about to consider a statewide injunction. However, that is now on hold after the state appealed.

In the meantime, Martinez says trans kids and their families are terrified of hearing from CPS, or losing access to the care their child needs. 

“They are grieving the loss of their safety and well-being,” he said. “And I think after a year and a half of having to show up at the Capitol time and time again to prove their humanity, this is just abhorrent.”