WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - A number of Texas senate and house bills are making their way through the legislative session that target transgender youth participation in sports and their access to health care.
“This is targeting a vulnerable population to score political power,” Ashley McErlean, PhD said.
McErlean is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Opal Center in Wichita Falls. She said she’s scare for what Senate Bills 29 and 1646 could do for the transgender community in Texoma if they’re passed.
“I think it’s safe to say that these bills are not based on science, they’re not based on knowledge of what the actual process looks like. They’re based on fear tactics,” she said.
Senate Bill 29, which passed on Wednesday and is sponsored by Texoma Senator Drew Springer, would require public school students to compete in interscholastic athletic activities based on biological sex. State senators are arguing the bill is necessary to keep girls safe and retain fairness in athletics.
McErlean argued sports can play a critical role in a transgender youth’s mental health.
“Making comradery and friends and things like that and support of a team, those are things we’re saying trans kids have to miss out on just because of who they are, and that’s not fair,” she said.
Senate Bill 1646, which is currently in committee and also sponsored by Senator Springer, adds to the current definition of child abuse... adding that any administration or supply of puberty suppression drugs and performing or consenting to surgery for anyone who is not an intersex kid would count.
“When left to nature’s God, 90% of children solve their own problem by the age of puberty if they are not interfered with by misguided psychologists or mutilating chemicals or surgery,” Texas Senator Bob Hall said.
“My focus is on putting the parents responsible,” Texas Senator Charles Perry added.
But McErlean argued these comments are ignorant against decades of research
“This is criminalizing what our professions have already determined are best practices,” she said.
While these bills are weeks away from the possibility of being law, McErlean said she’s worried about what could happen before that.
“Find each other, band together, we have to keep fighting this, we have to make it safer,” she said, “but that’s going to take time, and in that time what I’m afraid is going to happen is we’re going to lose a lot of these kids.”