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Colorado could become safe haven for transgender youth after new Texas orders

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado could soon become a safe haven for transgender youth, running from a new initiative in Texas. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott — seven days before the GOP primary elections —ordered state child welfare officials to launch child abuse investigations into reports of transgender kids receiving gender-affirming care.

Governor Abbott specified that the reporting requirements applied to “all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse.”

Abbott’s directive follows a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said gender-affirming care constitutes child abuse. Paxton said it would be child abuse to administer gender-affirming care that is widely accepted by leading health care groups, like puberty blockers, a type of medical treatment that delays puberty.

While it's unclear whether the Texas governor's new order will be enforced or hold up in court, LGBTQ+ advocates in the Lone Star State, and even the White House, are now condemning the move as dangerous.

While the state’s child welfare agency has said that it will investigate claims, some county and district attorneys have stated that they will not enforce the opinion.

Still, LGBTQ+ organizations and advocates in the south are now encouraging families to move to a "safe place," the closest to Texas being Colorado. Colorado organizations tell KRDO they're here to help.

Paul Provence of Houston is a non-binary trans-person and LGBTQ+ advocate.

“This is my opinion, but I think it’s clear that Governor Abbott is, you know, reinforcing his conservative credibility as he makes decisions about whatever he’s going to do politically," says Provence.

Not only is your physical safety and your mental health at risk because of the people that might treat you poorly, now there’s some unknown government man in Austin that you’ve never seen before who’s trying to interfere in your family life.”

Provence says that while they feel comfortable in their pocket of Houston, others have expressed the opposite, feeling unwanted in a place they want to live.

Inside Out Youth Services is an LGBTQ+ positive group in Colorado Springs. The group says criminalizing certain care for the LGBTQ+ community further stigmatizes an already vulnerable group of people.

“We found through so much research over the years that a single trusted adult in a young persons life can prevent suicide by up to 50 percent," says Liss Smith, communications director for Inside Out Youth Services.

The group says anyone for Texas, or any other state, who doesn't feel safe is welcome here.

“It is incredibly important especially for our community that so often feels ostracized and especially lately has been such a talking point for people who kind of forget that there are real human beings on the other side of these debates," says Smith.

Author Profile Photo

Natalie Haddad

Natalie is a traffic reporter and MMJ for Good Morning Colorado and KRDO. You can learn more about her here.

Comments

16 Comments

  1. Kids should be kids and if they want to change after 18 that is great. I do see where there is concern that some kids are be manipulated into the decision and they are not mature enough to even understand. Both my nieces said they were lesbians in MS and HS. Now they are both getting married to men and laugh that they knew nothing when they were younger and most if it was because of rejection and the rest to shock their parents.

    1. It is also be a concern that kids with real gender issues are being coerced to conform to the views of those who simply don’t understand. It goes both ways, and that’s what this is all about.

  2. Allowing countless mentally-challenged people into Colorado will obviously be a good thing.

    1. Well there are a lot of rednecks and god fearing fanatics that were already here so…

    2. There are already plenty of mentally-challenged people here who believe that sêxual identïty is a black/white issue. They are unable to comprehend that all of life has shades of gray between the extreme limits.

  3. The youths are not being looked at, the parents are, because atypical parental decisions can be legitimate or they can be red flags of abuse.
    Look, we home school. We are good parents. I know many home school families that are good families. I also know there are some people who call themselves home schoolers who are actually abusive parents using the label as a cover.
    When Texas “telegraphs” that it won’t look very carefully at families that home school, that means good families that don’t want to be “unfairly” under scrutiny will move to Texas. But it also means the liars and abusers will move to Texas because their lying and abusing will not be detected.
    So if Colorado is “telegraphing” that families that physically and chemically alter their children won’t be under “unfair” scrutiny, that may mean that parents trying to work with kids with legitimate transgender concerns will feel less burdened here. But it’s also going to be a call to all those crazy, projecting, abusive parents who are mistreating their kids in the name of rights to move here, because no one will look out for their kids.

    1. I don’t know about this, Marie. Child abuse is not a partisan issue, it is found in every income level, every race, every religion or lack there-of, every school or non-school experience, and sadly, every state. Most of these parents don’t even recognize that what they are doing is abusive, many truly believe they are good parents. It’s exactly how an entire state like Texas can end up with such a misguided law, believing they are doing a service, when they are actually interfering.
      – – – – – –
      I do question this statement: “all those crazy, projecting, abusive parents who are mistreating their kids in the name of rights.”
      Where are all these crazy, projecting abusive parents you refer to? How are they different or worse than parents who take their kids to strict churches, make them play rough sports, learn to shoot, dress up their girls in expensive fancy dresses and cheer leading costumes from age 2? Are they projecting and mistreating their kids? Are they crazy and abusive? That sounds pretty judgmental. Let kids be kids. Love them for who they are. Lift them up, emphasize their gifts.

      1. Yes, it is found everywhere, but obviously social services organizations can only see from the outside and so they are going to look into groups doing things most families don’t. I’m not saying it is ideal — in fact, what it leads to is behaviors that are due to poverty being labeled as abuse. There’s a great book on the subject that gives the example of a kid that sleeps on a couch, and social services considered that potential neglect because the workers came from households where having their own bedroom was normal. I’m just saying it’s not nefarious. I will even go so far as to say that while the vast majority of home educating families are NOT abusive or neglectful, if someone told me that self-identified home educating parents have a higher rate of abuse than standard educating families, I’d believe it. Because pretending to home school can cover abuse and neglect. And so while the vast majority of families with kids that they say are transgender are doing their best to figure things out, there will be some abusive, mentally ill parents who mistreat their kids and if they are told “as long as you mistreat your kids in X way, we won’t even look” you are setting up a bad incentive.

      2. As regards your second point, there are a HUGE number of parental decisions I’d be judgmental about, all over the place. Also, there are a large number of parental choices that probably the majority of people would consider very bad parenting.

        It has to be a different level or kind to involve government coercion or removal.

        I’m very religious, but there are several “churches” I could point to and say those kids being brought there are being brought to a very bad place. But that doesn’t mean the state can intervene. But if the parents bring their kids to a church where they are beaten, the state can and should. So with this law, they are talking about physical and chemical addresses. The state has an interest in that. It still doesn’t mean the state can automatically override the parents, but just as in a case where a parent declines chemo for a kid or puts the kid on an atypical diet, it is within the purview of the state to make sure the parent is not abusing the child. The law does not investigate parents who put their XY kids into dresses, it investigates parents giving their kids hormones that alter their development in ways that can’t be easily changed if the developing child feels differently about him or herself later. It’s not “loving them for who they are”, it’s medicating them for who they believe (at the age of 10) they are despite surface appearances. That’s a pretty big deal.

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree with you about most of this. I just don’t trust Abbott or his AG. I believe they will use such legislation to “investigate” all kinda vulnerable kids and families, causing trauma and more. Slippery slope…

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