According to the head of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, gender-affirming surgery constitutes “child abuse” under state law.
The commissioner, Jaime Masters, wrote a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday explaining more after Abbott requested clarification on the issue from DFPS.
Masters stated, “Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse”. She also explained that altering a child’s genitals for transgender identity “may cause a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child'”.
This surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies. Generally, children in the care and custody of a parent lack the legal capacity to consent to surgical treatments, making them more vulnerable.Jaime Masters
Masters noted situations where the surgery would not be considered abuse, but medically necessary. These cases might include children whose body parts have been affected by illness or trauma, children born with a genetic disorder of sex development, and children who don’t have the normal sex chromosome structure for male or female.
If a professional has cause to believe child abuse is occurring, under Texas Family Code they must report to DFPS within 48 hours. Failure to do so can result in a fine, jail time, or both.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health does not recommend this kind of surgery for children, explaining “Genital surgery should not be carried out until (i) patients reach the legal age of majority in a given country, and (ii) patients have lived continuously for at least 12 months in the gender role that is congruent with their gender identity”.
Another controversy is “puberty-blocking” drugs for children and adolescents. These interventions are more widely recommended and many claim they are reversible.
Some have argued that minors do not have the ability to consent to these drug treatments and that they are just as harmful.