HOUSTON – Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is among the prosecutors pushing back against a recent opinion from the state’s attorney general.
“I want transgender children and their families to know: you are safe from prosecution in Harris County,” Ogg said on Friday.
Ogg’s comments follow an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton earlier this week which called certain gender-affirming procedures and treatments child abuse.
Gov. Greg Abbott then directed the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate instances of said procedures as child abuse.
In a letter, Abbott wrote the opinion “..makes clear, it is already against the law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning.”
“I think both of those communications are stirring up misinformation and a lot of fear from a lot of parents that are worried that their children will be taken away simply for giving them medically necessary gender-affirming healthcare,” said Mandy Giles, president of Houston PFLAG and founder of Parents of Trans Youth.
Gender-affirming care, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, is the surgical and mental health services sought by transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people, ranging from hormone replacement to routine preventative care.
Ogg said in a statement that she will not prosecute “any parent, facility, or anyone else” for providing medical care to transgender children.
“We do not consider the attorney general’s opinion law,” Ogg said. “It is exactly that, an opinion, and it’s not to be enforced as a law.”
The director of policy for Texas Values said in a news release that the AG’s decision “affirms commonsense,” but not everyone agrees.
“One of my children received gender-affirming healthcare just before they turned 18 and we had to consult with all sorts of medical professionals,” Giles said. “We had to consent to the treatment. It was not done in a vacuum, in a bubble, and everyone was on board and everyone signed off on everything so there is no way that can be construed as child abuse.”
Despite the governor’s directive, Ogg said she has not received any complaints so far.
You can read the full statement below from Ogg below:
“As District Attorney of the most populous county in Texas, I oppose attempts by Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton to designate life-saving care for transgender children as ‘child abuse.’ As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I am particularly sensitive to the invidious nature of this order—it turns family members against each other at the expense of their children. It is a remnant of a hateful past that I had hoped our society had matured beyond. I will not prosecute any parent, any facility, or anyone else for providing medically appropriate care to transgender children. I will continue to enforce the Constitution and the state’s criminal laws to assure the greatest degree of freedom and order that we can achieve.”