Texas is set to become the largest US state yet to outlaw transgender treatments on minors after its Republican-controlled legislature on Wednesday passed a bill banning such procedures.
Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican whose administration has already taken actions targeting trans youth and their parents, is expected to sign the ban into law.
Abbott is following tightly on the heels of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a fellow Republican, who earlier Wednesday signed a bill passed by the Republican-led legislature in early May that bans transgender care for minors.
Texas and Florida are the second and third most populous US states.
DeSantis, who is expected to announce an official presidential campaign imminently, also signed into law a ban on transgender people using bathrooms and locker rooms in public facilities that do not correlate with their biological sex.
The Texas bill, known as SB14, passed the state House on Wednesday and was quickly affirmed in the Senate.
It bans medical professionals from prescribing hormone blockers or performing gender transitioning surgeries to anyone under 18 years old.
The legislation does include an exception for minors already receiving puberty blockers or hormone therapy, but requires that they “shall wean off the prescription drug over a period of time and in a manner that is safe and medically appropriate.”
In addition to Florida, nearly a dozen other Republican-led states have passed similar bans in recent months, with transgender rights becoming a leading cleavage line in America’s culture wars.
Democratic leaders have condemned such moves as encroaching on Americans’ civil liberties, while protesters have frequently taken to state houses to denounce Republican initiatives.
In March, President Joe Biden said that such “attacks” on transgender rights were “un-American and must end.”
“No one should have to be brave just to be themselves,” the Democratic leader wrote in a statement marking the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
More than half of trans youth had seriously considered suicide and nearly one in five made a suicide attempt during the past year, according to 2021 survey by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit engaged in suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth.
They are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, risky behavior and self mutilation than other adolescents.