When Texas governor Greg Abbott issued a memo directing state agencies to classify youth gender transition procedures as child abuse and investigate them accordingly, the backlash from Hollywood was swift. Trans actors and activists quickly took to social media to condemn the decision, and now one of Hollywood’s most prominent trans figures, Elliot Page, has joined the chorus. Page, the “Juno” and “The Umbrella Academy” star who came out as a trans man in late 2020, issued a statement to Variety expressing solidarity with trans children in Texas.
“I am horrified by the inhumane and downright dangerous declarations by the Texas Governor and Attorney General,” Page said. “Trans youth deserve gender-affirming care and to be able to live their true, authentic selves without fear and oppression. I stand with trans youth and their families.”
The Texas controversy began when state Attorney General Bill Paxton wrote a legal opinion declaring that administering certain medical procedures relating to gender transition on minors, including administering puberty blockers, could constitute child abuse.
“The Texas Family Code is clear — causing or permitting substantial harm to the child or the child’s growth and development is child abuse,” Paxton wrote. “Any person that conducts or facilitates these procedures or treatments could be engaged in child abuse, whether that be parents, doctors, counselors, etc.”
Abbott, who is notably in the midst of a primary challenge from the right flank of the Republican party, responded to Paxton by demanding instances of youth gender transition be investigated for potential child abuse. “Because the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is responsible for protecting children from abuse, I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas,” Abbott wrote in a memo to DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters.
“There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” Paxton said in a news release. “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”
Many legal groups, including the ACLU, have noted that these statements from the governor and attorney general may not hold any legal merit or be enforceable in court.