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San Marcos activists stand up for transgender children

Protestors+sit+and+hold+signs+at+the+Stallions+during+the+March+for+Trans+Youth%2C+Wednesday%2C+March+2%2C+2022%2C+at+Texas+State.+The+march+was+organized+in+response+to+Gov.+Greg+Abbott%26%238217%3Bs+recent+order+directing+state+officials+to+handle+gender-affirming+treatment+to+minors+as+child+abuse.

Protestors sit and hold signs at the Stallions during the March for Trans Youth, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at Texas State. The march was organized in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order directing state officials to handle gender-affirming treatment to minors as child abuse.

A crowd of several dozen San Marcos activists met outside the Hays County Historic Courthouse on March 2, protesting for the rights of transgender children. The protestors stood in a line shouting in unison for the protection of trans kids as onlookers inevitably took sides, often calling back in support or opposition of the protest. 
The protest is in response to a recent initiative spearheaded by Texas Gov.Greg Abbott, who ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on Feb. 22 to investigate parents whose adolescent children have undergone gender-affirming care. The Texas governor is pushing the agenda that gender-affirming care in the form of medication or surgery is to be considered child abuse. 
Last week, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) opened its first investigation into the family of a transgender teenager who received gender-affirming medical treatment. The action from the Texas governor has sparked nationwide controversy and protests for and against gender affirmation in children.
At the courthouse, the group of protesters was confronted by an individual arguing that transgender people already have rights and didn’t need more. For San Marcos resident Bryson Greene, that kind of verbal abuse happens often and forces the trans community to learn to pick and choose their battles.
“It’s pretty common to experience [verbal abuse] as a queer individual you know, people saying whatever and however they feel coming up to you saying all kinds of rude things,” Greene said. “We have to pick and choose our battles, and everyone has their limits.”
The organizers of the protest purposely remained anonymous, allowing the message to spread through word of mouth and social media. Despite the demonstration’s large turnout, another is yet to be planned.
Lilly Bogue, a resident of San Marcos, attended the protest and is a vocal advocate for the transgender community. Bogue, who identifies as transgender, knows the importance of a supportive family.
“So personally, I’ve had very supportive parents,” Bogue said. “They were a little bit slow on the uptake about terminology and everything, but that’s fine, the important thing is that they’re making an effort.” 
Protestors continued their demonstration to Texas State’s campus where they continued to encounter support and disapproval from fellow students. Bryson Greene hopes students on campus who disagreed with the protest can see the debate from another perspective.
“What if it was you, you know, what if there was something about you in your regular average everyday life that the rest of society felt was not okay and not appropriate,” Greene said.
The process of gender-affirmation care refers to treatments, ranging from surgery to speech therapy. The treatments are intended to support a transgender or nonbinary person in their gender transition. Transition looks different for each person. But the overall goal of gender-affirmation care is to help a person’s outward traits match their gender identity.
The initiative from Abbott puts parents and guardians of transgender people in a difficult situation and is likely to take away the freedom of choice to support a child in their transition.
The governor is pushing a form of vigilantism, asking members of the public to report instances of gender-affirming surgery to state officials for possible prosecution.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argues that gender affirmation care is experimental and that children are too young to consent to such care. In an open letter released by the Attorney General’s Office, Paxton made his stance clear to the Texas public.
“There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” Paxton said in his letter. “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”
Nationally recognized health organizations have come out in support of gender affirmation care in transgender children and argue that it is necessary for the healthy raising of a transgender child. Organizations include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.
As the fight for transgender rights continues, individuals at the protest want people to be okay with asking questions if they have them. San Marcos resident Ryan Patrick calls on residents to ask questions and stand up for the transgender youth.
“Show up and speak out. If you don’t understand something, ask questions,” Patrick said. “Be there to support your friends and your loved ones and your community. That’s what life is all about.”

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  • A protestor holds a sign during the March for Trans Youth, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse. The march was organized in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order directing state officials to handle gender-affirming treatment to minors as child abuse.

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