State clergy and parishioners are speaking out against Texas Gov. Greg Abbotts’s order to investigate the families of transgender youth, calling it a weapon. Many have organized prayer services, support services for families, and are also providing safe spaces on college campuses for young adults grappling with what this order could mean for their families and friends.
Abbot’s order requires the department of Child Protective Sserices to investigate families of transgender youth. All nurses and doctors, teachers, and guidance counselors are now under orders to report to CPS those children they believe to be trans and/or who are also receiving medical care related to their trans-wellness. Physicians providing puberty blocking treatment are under orders to stop treatment, and youths who are in counseling now run the risk of having their parents accused of child abuse if they disclose any gender dysphoria or trans issues. The governor further dictated that professionals who fail to report to child protective services could face criminal charges as well.
Religion News Services reports:
“The Rev. Lisa Hunt, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Houston and board president of the church’s school, published her own letter to the editor in the Houston Chronicle objecting to the governor’s dictate. Hunt told RNS: “We are a church-based school, and I was very committed to making sure our families knew there were others standing in solidarity with them.
“The fact that children would be used as a weapon … it’s violent, in a rhetorical way, and in a civil discourse kind of way,” said Hunt. “I don’t think it bodes well for the care of children or for the healing of divisions in Texas.”
Hunt said families with trans children in her community are also considering moving out of Texas due to safety concerns and said others are asking whether it’s still safe to display LGBTQ-affirming flags.
Leaders at Celebration Church, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation in Cypress, Texas, seek to be hospitable toward LGBTQ individuals through mission partnerships, support groups and by expressly welcoming people of every gender identity and sexual orientation in Sunday liturgy. The Sunday after Abbott issued his directive, the service included a prayer for trans youth, their parents and families and for those who provide gender-affirming care.”
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