Texas Ban on Gender Modification for Minors Passes Major Hurdle

Nineteen Democratic amendments proposed to water down bill fail during marathon legislative session
By Darlene McCormick Sanchez
Darlene McCormick Sanchez
Darlene McCormick Sanchez
Darlene McCormick Sanchez reports for The Epoch Times from Texas. She writes on a variety of issues with a focus on Texas politics, election fraud, and the erosion of traditional values. She previously worked as an investigative reporter and covered crime, courts, and government for newspapers in Texas, Florida, and Connecticut. Her work on The Sinful Messiah series, which exposed Branch Davidians leader David Koresh, was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting in the 1990s.
May 12, 2023Updated: May 12, 2023

Texas Republicans cleared a major hurdle to pass a ban on child gender modification surgery and hormones after fierce resistance from Democrats and pro-transgender protesters.

The vote mainly along party lines on May 11 came after five hours of debate on Senate Bill 14 that included multiple attempts by Democrats to water down the bill through 19 proposed amendments.

The bill prohibits “treatment” for childhood gender dysphoria including surgeries that sterilize children, such as removing parts of their reproductive systems, mastectomies, and prescribing drugs that induce temporary or permanent infertility, such as cross-sex hormones, or removing any otherwise healthy or non-diseased body part.

Children currently on hormones for gender dysphoria would have to be weaned off the hormones, according to the bill.

Texas state representatives
Texas state representatives and visitors are gathered in the House chamber on the first day of the 87th Legislature’s special session at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on July 8, 2021. (Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)

The bill gives the attorney general the ability to enforce the law. Doctors who perform gender modification on children will lose their medical licenses to practice in Texas.

Republican state Rep. Tom Oliverson, who sponsored companion bill House Bill 1686, shepherded SB 14 through the House.

Dr. Oliverson, who told The Epoch Times last week he looked forward to discussing the bill publicly, said there is no high-quality scientific evidence that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or surgery help children overcome gender dysphoria.

Oliverson said that evidence of adverse outcomes for such “treatment” is growing.

“Risks including bone demineralization, abnormalities of brain and cardiovascular development, strokes, blood clots, chronic pain, infertility, and incontinence are known to accompany these treatments for a lifetime,” he said.

Rep Tom Oliverson
Texas state Rep. Tom Oliverson speaks at a press conference in Austin, Texas, on March 29, 2023, in a still from a video. (The Epoch Times)

Oliverson said that suicide and gender dysphoria are “something that the literature got wrong from a very early stage.” He said providers erroneously told parents that if they didn’t transition their children, they would commit suicide.

Other Republicans who spoke on the House floor called the practice of permanently sterilizing children “child abuse.”

Democrats coordinated a political attack on the bill by calling points of order on clerical errors and open meeting rules on May 2 and May 5. That delayed the second reading of the bill until May 12.

A point of order is a maneuver used to kill bills in the Texas Legislature by forcing them to be corrected and rescheduled, which could run out the clock.

Democrat state Rep. James Talarico called the legislation banning gender modification “the most dangerous bill being heard” this session.

Democrats said the bill wold discriminate against transgender youth and force parents with gender dysphoric children to leave the state. They also claimed gender dysphoria is linked to suicide.

Democrats also spoke of gender as a spectrum, refusing to agree that there were two biological sexes.

Epoch Times Photo
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, here “gaveling-in” a July 2021 special session in Austin, Texas, was reelected speaker on Jan. 10 for the 2023 legislative session. (Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)

The bill, a priority for the Republican Party of Texas, will now be up for a final vote in the House Monday that would send it to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.

Oliverson told The Epoch Times last week that Republicans are committed to seeing the bill through without compromise.

Democrats offered to withdraw one point of order in exchange for his acceptance of an amendment to water down the bill, which Oliverson said he refused.

“So I do think that this strategy for the Democrats is one of diminishing returns, and unfortunately, the clock is not in their favor,” he said. “Ultimately, we’re setting ourselves up with a law that is going to withstand any legal challenge that they could mount,” he said.

During the May 2 session, pro-transgender protesters disrupted the legislature, prompting Republican Speaker of the House Dade Phelan to order the gallery to be cleared.

Scuffles erupted between officers and pro-transgender activists who began chanting loudly and hanging signs over the balcony.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers had to remove some protestors and made two arrests.

Protestors Rally Against Restrictive New Texas Abortion Law In Austin AUSTIN, TX
Police look on as a protest takes place outside the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, on May 29, 2021. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Videos posted online showed protestors chanting and obstructing officers trying to clear the Texas Capitol.

Adriano K. Pérez, an organizing director with the Texas Freedom Network, a left-wing group describing its mission as “monitoring far-right issues, organizations, money, and leaders,” was arrested, according to the DPS.

Perez was charged with disrupting a meeting, resisting arrest, and assault on a peace officer and transported to the Travis County Jail, the DPS said in an emailed statement.

Protester Evan D. Wienck was charged with assault by contact and released on-site, according to the same statement.

Andrew Brown, associate vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a conservative think-tank, said the protest at the Texas capitol on May 2 was a “borderline insurrection.”

Epoch Times Photo
Andrew Brown is associate vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a conservative think-tank. (Courtesy of TPPF)

Brown credited Phelan with not letting the situation get out of hand.

The disruption of the Texas House follows a pattern across the country this spring, where pro-transgender activists have disrupted legislation aimed at outlawing gender modification for minors.

In the Florida House recently, a video posted on social media showed left-wingers and children tossing white underwear from the legislative balcony onto lawmakers to protest a ban on child gender modification.

At least one person was arrested in connection with the Florida incident for disturbing a peaceful or lawful assembly. Two juveniles were also cited for trespassing and are not allowed back at the capitol for a year.

In Tennessee, protestors that included elected officials disrupted a legislative session in Tennessee by chanting and shouting, which shut down the Legislature. Media accounts did not detail any arrests, but two of the three legislative members were expelled from the Legislature.

Kentucky State Police recently asked people to leave or be arrested as a mob of protestors chanted over lawmakers who voted to override the governor’s veto of a ban on child gender modification. A group of 19 were arrested on trespassing charges.