A billboard reading “protect trans youth” in Austin, Texas. (Folx Health)
The only public gender clinic for young trans people in the US state of Texas has closed after attacks by anti-trans activists.
The move comes amid rising tensions in the state over gender-affirming care for young trans people, with transphobic activists targeting officials at the hospital where the gender clinic was based and accusing them of promoting child abuse.
Last month, Texas became the 10th US state to sign into law a transphobic bill banning trans students from playing school sports on the teams corresponding to their gender.
The GENder Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support program (GENECIS) was the first clinic of its kind in the Southwest, bringing mental health services, hormone specialists and young adult care together in one place.
GENECIS confirmed in a statement that existing patients would continue to receive treatment, but that while new patients referred into the hospital would be seen for diagnosis, including evaluation for gender dysphoria, they will not be offered puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy.
The only gender clinic dedicated to transgender youth in the state of Texas has formally dissolved after far-right activists harassed doctors and called the services provided there child abuse https://t.co/Es1gRplHP6
— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) November 21, 2021
Gender-affirming clinic for young trans people in Texas was ‘reducing suffering’
The GENECIS closure comes less than two months after officials at the Children’s Medical Center Dallas, where the program was based, told The Dallas Express that the service was vital for young people with gender dysphoria and was helping to reduce the “significant suffering and extraordinarily high suicide” rates among trans youth.
Anti-trans activists who had targeted GENECIS repeated many of the Republican talking points opposing gender-affirming healthcare for young trans people, including falsely claiming that it is dangerous, irreversible or experimental.
The fact that doctors trying to “save lives” by treating young trans people had been harassed is “heartbreaking”, said Ricardo Martinez, the chief executive of LGBT+ campaign group Equality Texas.
News of the gender clinic closing comes at the end of Trans Awareness Week, during which billboards reading “Protect trans youth” and “Trans lives are precious” were towed on trucks around Austin, Texas, in solidarity with trans Texans.