TFN, Clergy Call Out Cruel Texas Legislative Assault on Transgender Youth and Their Families

TFN and clergy with Just Texas are calling out the growing legislative assault on transgender youth and their families at the Texas Capitol. One of the appalling bills moving at the Capitol this week would even brand parents as criminal abusers for loving and supporting their transgender kids. Others would ban transgender youth from school sports and from accessing the medically recommended health care they need. Check out our press release.

Legislative Bullying of Transgender Youth Marks a New Low for Anti-LGBTQ Lawmakers

April 12, 2021

With several bills instituting health care and sports bans for transgender youth moving at the Texas Capitol this week, Texas Freedom Network’s president and a clergy leader associated with the faith-organizing movement Just Texas today joined in condemning the growing legislative assault on transgender young people, their families and their health care providers.

“The obsession by Dan Patrick and other Republican leaders to pass discriminatory laws targeting LGBTQ Texans has been distressing enough in the last several sessions, but the legislative bullying of transgender kids and their families this year marks a new and repulsive low,” Benavidez said. “Transgender youth, like all children, have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and receive the health care they need. Pushing bills to take away that care, try to turn them into outcasts at school, and brand their parents and doctors as criminal abusers is shockingly cruel. But the cruelty caucus is moving full steam ahead at the Capitol now.”

The Rev. Katheryn Barlow-Williams, pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin and a leading voice in Just Texas, also decried efforts to stigmatize transgender people.

“We are all God’s children, but too many legislative leaders continue to see transgender people and other LGBTQ Texans as political punching bags rather than fellow human beings with the same need to find their path, acceptance and love as everyone else,” Rev. Barlow said. “Virtually every major religious faith includes some form of the teaching that we should treat others as we would want to be treated. Each of these bills represents a disheartening rejection of that simple moral test.”

Rev. Barlow-Williams, whose congregation has grieved with the family of a young transgender person who took their own life, called out the ugly self-righteousness of those who cause great pain to others.

“Jesus once asked his followers, ‘Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own?’ Perhaps if our legislative leaders spent more time examining their own hearts, they would find more love and compassion to share with others,” she said. 

Lt. Gov. Patrick has led efforts to pass bills targeting LGBTQ Texans for discrimination, including his crusade to restrict access by transgender people to public bathrooms in 2017 and 2019. Patrick has publicly made discriminatory legislation a priority in this session as well. Several bills targeting transgender youth and their families are moving this week at the Capitol:

  • SB1646 by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would brand parents and physicians as criminal abusers and put parents at risk of imprisonment if they consent to medically recommended, transition-related services to help their transgender child. The Senate State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill today.
  • SB1311 by state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, and HB 1399 by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would in varying ways ban best-practice, medically recommended care for transgender youth in Texas. SB1311 is set for a public hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday. The House Public Health Committee will hold a public hearing on HB1399 on Wednesday.
  • SB29, which would ban transgender students from school sports and is one of Lt. Gov. Patrick’s legislative priorities, went on the Senate Intent calendar Friday and is eligible this week for debate and a vote by the full chamber.


The Texas Freedom Network ( is a grassroots organization of religious and community leaders and young Texans building an informed and effective movement for equality and social justice. Just Texas (, a project of TFN, is a movement of clergy and other faith leaders who support social justice, including full equality for LGBTQ people.