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Austin City Council Adopts Gender Affirming Care Safeguards in Response to Texas Lawsuit

Austin City Council passes gender affirming care protections (Credits: The Hill)

On Thursday, the Austin City Council took a massive step towards protecting the rights of transgender individuals by passing a resolution that ensures the city will not use its resources to investigate or prosecute those seeking gender-affirming care or providing such care to others.

This move comes just days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over changes to Title IX, which aim to add protections for transgender students to the federal civil rights law on sex-based discrimination.

City Council member José “Chito” Vela, one of the sponsors of the resolution, emphasized the importance of self-determination for transgender people, stating,

“Trans people deserve the right to self-determination. Our state has forced them and their medical providers into hiding, and that is wrong.” Vela continued, “Austin should not be a party to that anymore than we legally have to be.”

Austin to weigh enforcing gender-affirming care law (Credits: Austin American-Statesman)

The resolution makes it clear that, except where required by law, city personnel, funds, and resources will not be used to investigate, criminally prosecute, or impose administrative penalties on transgender and nonbinary individuals seeking healthcare or those who provide healthcare to them.

This move by the Austin City Council is a bold stance against the state’s efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care. In August 2023, the Texas Supreme Court allowed a state law barring gender-affirming care for transgender youth to go into effect, following a legal battle over the legislation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been a vocal opponent of the changes to Title IX, stating, “Texas will not allow Joe Biden to rewrite Title IX at whim, destroying legal protections for women in furtherance of his radical obsession with gender ideology.” Paxton also criticized the Austin resolution, calling it “riddled with problems” and warning that his office will consider every possible response to ensure compliance.

Transgender Community (Credits: The Keyword)

However, the Austin City Council remains committed to protecting the rights of transgender individuals, even in the face of opposition from the state. By passing this resolution, the council is sending a clear message that Austin will not be complicit in the state’s efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care.

The resolution’s passage is a victory for transgender rights advocates, who have been fighting against the state’s efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care. It is a testament to the power of local activism and the importance of standing up for the rights of marginalized communities, even in the face of opposition from the state.

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