NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Some Texas families with transgender children are getting ready to make the move to New Mexico. It comes after a controversial directive by the governor of Texas that could have parents prosecuted for child abuse if their child is transitioning. A local group is welcoming those families.
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Jill Pott says over the years it became clear, this was not something her youngest daughter was ever going to grow out of. “My youngest let us know when she was about three that he was really a girl,” Pott said. “She’s just an all-girl kid and we’re okay with that.”
Now nine, Potts’ daughter is about to start meeting with doctors to talk about puberty blockade treatments which essentially pauses puberty. “It’s 100% reversible. If she chooses, down the road, to stop them then everything will start right back up,” Potts said.
Potts said this decision is not one any parent makes lightly. “It is scary as a parent to think about doing any hormone intervention,” Potts said.
But now in the state of Texas, it is a decision that could get her charged with child abuse. “It’s really sad because these parents just love their kids so fiercely, so it’s the opposite of abuse,” Potts said.
This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a directive on an interpretation of the current law from Attorney General Ken Paxton, telling the Department of Family Protective Services to investigate reports of gender transitioning procedures on minors, like puberty-blocking drugs, doses of testosterone or estrogen, and reassignment surgeries, claiming they can cause mental or emotional injury to a child.
“We know there hasn’t been a court in the united states that has found any kind of gender-affirming care for kids to be child abuse,” said Adrian Lawyer with the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico.
Lawyer says a gender-affirming surgery would never happen on a patient younger than 18 and adds pausing puberty dramatically reduces suicide attempts among trans teens. “Your voice starts to change, your adam’s apple starts to develop, you start to grow facial hair. For a lot of our kids that sends them into a tailspin,” Lawyer said.
He said this directive is dangerous and is the final straw for some Texas parents who have trans kids. “We’ve already had families in Texas contact us about potentially moving here because of the climate there,” Lawyer said.
Lawyer says in the past, they’ve had families from Texas move here. Then and now, they stand ready to help, as to parents like Potts. “I want to say I’m so sorry and we welcome you with open arms,” Potts said.
Data shows that one-third of New Mexico teens who identify as trans or non-binary have attempted suicide. Those looking for more information can visit the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico website.