Chalk up a major victory for children in the Lone Star State as Texas has drawn an important line in the sand: Gender reassignment surgeries performed on minors is child abuse, and prosecutable under state law.

Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) on August 6 inquiring as to whether “genital mutilation of a child for purposes of gender transitioning through reassignment surgery constitutes child abuse.” He noted in the letter that female genital mutilation of a child is already illegal under Texas law.

DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters replied to Gov. Abbott’s letter on August 9, stating that such action would constitute child abuse.

“Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse,” Masters wrote. “Such mutilation may cause a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.’ TEX. FAM. CODE § 261.001(1)(C). As you have described, this surgical procedure physically alters a child’s genitalia for non-medical purposes potentially inflicting irreversible harm to children’s bodies. Generally, children in the care and custody of a parent lack the legal capacity to consent to surgical treatments, making them more vulnerable.”

Masters noted that there may be exceptions where surgery is medically necessary for “a child whose body parts have been affected by illness or trauma; who is born with a medically verifiable genetic disorder of sex development, such as the presence of both ovarian and testicular tissue; or who does not have the normal sex chromosome structure for male or female as determined through genetic testing.”

Those medical exceptions would not cover what is commonly called “gender dysphoria,” which is the psychological term for a person who is uncomfortable with their biological sex.

A failure to report such abuse with 48 hours by “a professional” – as defined by state law – would be considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a $4,000 fine, or both. However, the intentional concealment of such abuse by a professional would be a felony, with tougher penalties.

According to the governor’s press release announcing Master’s letter, the DFPS determination and subsequent enforcement are “effective immediately.”

Any suspected child abuse would trigger an investigation into the child’s parents by DFPS, and any involvement by licensed facilities with regard to the illegal surgeries would be investigated by state agencies responsible for the licensing, according to Abbott.

The Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) says, “Sex reassignment operations are physically harmful because they disregard normal human anatomy and function. Normal anatomy is not a disease; dissatisfaction with natural anatomical and genetic sexual makeup is not a condition that can be successfully remedied medically or surgically.”

More information from the CMDA on “transgender identification” is available here.


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Focus on the Family Broadcasts: Becoming the Woman God Made Me to BeThe Journey Back to My True Identity (Part 1 of 2)The Journey Back to My True Identity (Part 2 of 2);

New Resource for Parents: “Responding to the Transgender Issue”

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