Texas and Florida are leading the charge against trans kids

In Texas, a 16 year old trans boy was admitted to a psychiatric facility after attempting suicide, the same day Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a directive stating that provide certain gender-affirming care treatments to minors was child abuse.

Once it was discovered that the boy was receiving hormone therapy, his parents were reported to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), per the requirements of Abbott’s order.

It looks like conservatives are finally ready to use their governmental power to directly persecute LGBTQ people and their allies.

The story is detailed in a lawsuit filed against Abbott and Texas DFPS. This shows how the militarization of government child protective services is experiencing a transphobic renaissance in a number of states.

Last year, the big transgender debate was whether or not trans girls and women should be allowed to compete in women’s and women’s sports. A quick scan of the most recent headlines shows that the debate has shifted dramatically towards a more extreme angle. In 2022, elected Republicans seek to criminalize LGBTQ people and their allies; transphobes send terrorist threats to cities and schools investigating transphobia; and white supremacists are storming pride parades and drag events.

The escalation has been swift, brutal and frightening for queer Americans, especially the trans people at the center of this so-called debate.

One of the centers of this reactionary movement against LGBTQ people is Florida, where Republican Governor and ostensible presidential candidate Ron DeSantis recently took a series of steps to severely curtail the freedoms of LGBTQ citizens in his state. At the beginning of June, he ordered the Florida Department of Health to declare that transitional care for trans adolescents should not be provided and that the state’s Medicaid program has cut funding for transitional care for trans adults. Her action mirrored other state-level attacks on transitional care for trans youth and also opened a new campaign against access to transitional care by legal adult trans citizens of her state who find themselves be on Medicaid.

The DeSantis administration took another hardline step late last week, proposing to order state child protective services to investigate all parents who take their children to drag events. DeSantis took particular aim at “Drag Queen Story Hour,” a kids’ event hosted by an LGBTQ educational franchise that’s been held in public libraries since 2015.

Conservative overreaction to the existence of drag queens is nothing new. In 2019, conservative commentator Sohrab Ahmari claimed events like “Drag Queen Story Hour” were offensive and the government should step in and shut them down. As Ahmari wrote in a First Things opinion piece for the New York Postreligious conservatives should “wage the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a reorganized public square for the common good and ultimately the highest good”.

Tory governors are apparently leaning on the idea of ​​threatening to snatch children from the loving arms of supportive parents in order to enforce their idea of ​​”proper” parenting.

This attitude was somewhat marginal on the right at the time, but the sentiment has only grown since then. Thursday, the Candace Owens of Daily Wire said that parents who take their children to drag events designed for children are unfit to be parents and deserve to have their children removed from their homes. Judging by DeSantis’ Child Protective Services order, it looks like conservatives are finally ready to use their governmental power to directly persecute LGBTQ people and their allies.

Much like the conservative aversion to dragging culture, alienating children from political or ideological enemies is historically a common tactic in politics. The Ottoman Empire would be take children of Christian nobles to the Balkans away from their families and get them to serve in the emperor’s court in a practice called “devshirme”. Most of the time, this kept the child loyal and helped suppress regional revolts.

During and after the Spanish Revolution, the fascist government of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco would steal the newborns of his leftist opposition. Parents were often told that newborn babies died in childbirth, but in reality they were offered for adoption by more politically loyal families. This policy was later extended to those living in poverty and others deemed undesirable by Franco’s fascists. Historians estimate around 300,000 children were kidnapped by the Franco regime, and the practice did not end until 1987, 22 years after Franco’s death, when a new law was passed to reform the practice. hospital in this area.

A version of this was practiced in the United States around the 1860s, when native children were removed from their families and tribes and placed in government-run boarding schools designed to reprogram children to eliminate culture. native.

The motivation in these historic cases is identical to that of modern American conservatives, who seek to eradicate what they believe to be a harmful ideology and presence – the mere existence of trans people.

Tory governors are apparently leaning on the idea of ​​threatening to snatch children from the loving arms of supportive parents in order to enforce their idea of ​​”proper” parenting. Threatening to take people’s children away is clearly a dramatic political overreach, especially from a party that has supposedly claimed the mantle of parental rights. But that doesn’t make the current Republican Party any less of a serious threat to LGBTQ people and their allies.

And as history has shown, these types of child purges are rarely limited to the original target. The threat to LGBTQ people should be enough to inspire action to protect trans children and their families, but I can’t help but ask: who’s next?

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