Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Senate Bill 14, which bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth, goes into effect despite legal pushback

Eva Asfahani
Senior Lucian Juarez at Whitis Court, where he stayed freshman year, on Sep. 3, 2023. Juarez began transitioning at 18. It was the first place he lived in where he felt safe and affirmed, he said.

A law preventing transgender minors in Texas from receiving gender-affirming care went into effect last week despite a state district court ruling the law likely violates the Texas Constitution. 

Senate Bill 14 outlaws the administration of gender-affirming health care, such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery to minors experiencing gender dysphoria. The law also gives the Texas Medical Board permission to revoke the license of any physician who provides said care. 

On Aug. 25, state district Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel issued an injunction in an attempt to prevent the law from going into effect on Sept. 1. Cantú Hexsel wrote that the law likely violates multiple parts of the Texas Constitution including parents’ and families’ right to make decisions about their health care, Texas physicians’ right to occupational freedom and discrimination against transgender minors who experience gender dysphoria. 

The Texas Attorney General’s office appealed Cantú Hexsel’s injunction, which paused her decision and allowed the law to go into effect.

Lucian Juarez, a speech-language pathology and linguistics senior, is a transgender man who takes testosterone. He said if he knew he was transgender at a younger age, he would have wanted to begin transitioning with treatments like puberty blockers, a reversible medication that pauses puberty and gives an individual the opportunity to explore their gender identity, according to Mayo Clinic

“I used to have a lot of social anxiety … I hated basically going outside and being gendered,” Juarez said. “I don’t feel like I have to hide anymore (and) I feel comfortable in my own body more than I ever have in my entire life.”

Juarez began his transition at 18 when he realized the “existential dread” he had about living the rest of his life as a woman. He experienced gender dysphoria, a condition the American Psychiatric Association defines as the “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.” 

“I describe it as having always worn the wrong shoes your entire life and they’re super uncomfortable, they might even be painful at times … you live like that your whole life and that’s how you know, but then you realize not everyone is having this problem,” Juarez said. “Then you take them off and you don’t feel that heavy weight of them anymore.” 

Jonathan Gooch, the communications director at Equality Texas, an organization working closely with the legal team that filed the initial injunction, said medications like puberty blockers and hormone therapy are only being blocked from transgender youth who experience gender dysphoria and will still be available for cisgender youth. 

“I think it reveals so much about the nature of this law,” Gooch said. “It solely bans health care based on who is receiving the health care, which is in its very nature discriminatory.” 

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