Since the release of Governor Greg Abbott’s letter last Tuesday, we have been reviewing and evaluating this action and the way in which it intersects with our mission to bring awareness to human trafficking and advocate ‘til everyone is free. As an organization, A 2nd Cup is committed to objectively examining and understanding the ways in which systemic inequities, policies, and laws create opportunities for traffickers to exploit the most vulnerable in our community. We frequently share how the LGBTQIA+ and foster care communities are disproportionately impacted by trafficking, and this directive from our Governor illustrates why this is true.
We have been collaborating with Tony’s Place, Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas, and the Foster Care Advocacy Center to discuss and understand how this action will impact the individuals we serve and hope to protect. Alongside these allies, we have curated a summary of the issue at hand, facts verified through statistics, and a list of recommendations and resources that we stand behind based on our mission, vision, and values. We hope that you will step back and approach this issue with an open heart and open mind, and understand that this is a moment for action. Trans youth and their families need empathy and support to ensure their health, wellbeing, and safety.
Click here to read the statement made by Tony’s Place
Click here to read the statement made by Foster Care Advocacy Center
Click here to read the statement made by Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas
In most of the state of Texas, it is legal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
90% of transgender Texans have been mistreated in the workplace.
2/3 of Texans would support a law protecting gay, lesbian and transgender Texans from discrimination.
Texas has the second highest number of trans people in the US with some 125,350 adults in Texas identifying as transgender, according to a study from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
Early Tuesday, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to state agencies, including the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, asserting that gender-affirming health care is child abuse, and that parents and those who provide or support it should be investigated and charged with child abuse. The letter ends by stating that DFPS should do its job to protect Texas children by obeying the law in OAG Opinion No. KP-0401.
Abbott’s letter comes after many aggressive anti-trans national initiatives. 2021 became the worst year in legislative history for anti-LGBTQ+ bills, with 16+ anti-trans bills targeting mostly youth, being passed across the nation. These bills spread fear, misinformation, and increase the vulnerabilities of queer and trans children.
“No court here in Texas or anywhere in the country has ever found that gender-affirming care can be considered child abuse,” said the American Civli Liberties Union of Texas in a statement “The opinion released by Paxton cites highly partisan, outdated, and inaccurate information that ignores the consensus of every major medical association and the evidence-based and peer-reviewed standards of care.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians, made up of over 134,600 licensed medical professionals, outlines and defines recommendations for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender youth, including hormonal treatment – which is fully reversible – and “may make future affirmation easier and safer, and allows time to ensure stability of gender identity.”
In contrast, this opinion put forward by Attorney General Ken Paxton, and subsequent letter by Governor Greg Abbott, is dangerously misleading and puts vulnerable Trans youth at risk of needlessly becoming involved with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Not only are child welfare investigations invasive and traumatic, they create space for Trans youth to lose their supportive caregivers. This can lead to vulnerability for traffickers to exploit these youth.
Our Values and Action
Human trafficking is an intersectional issue, at its deepest roots. In order to effectively advocate for a community safe from the vulnerability of trafficking, we have to acknowledge and stand up for the injustices toward marginalized people. A 2nd Cup has and is actively working year long with community members and organizations to empower and support the lives of queer and trans people and youth.
We believe EVERY BODY deserves to feel safe, supported, and empowered in their community, including trans Texans, and especially trans youth. We believe in families staying together no matter their gender and sexual identities. We will work endlessly to raise awareness on LGBTQ+ issues, and collaborate with those who believe and practice these same values.
We ask you, our community partners, and allies to take a stand against this violation of human rights against trans youth and families, and support in creating safe and loving spaces for LGBTQ+ folx in our city. As paraphrased by Dr. MLK and a phrase we center at A 2nd Cup, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent…”.
+ Call your State Representative and let them know you stand with Trans Youth.
+ Vote in your local and state elections.
+ Organize and involve your friends and family to do the same.
+ Reach out to local anti-human trafficking organizations and ask how you can volunteer and support their efforts.
+ Share Trans resources with your community members (scroll down to see resources).
Support our Ally Partners who support and empower Queer and Trans Youth
Tony’s Place Tony’s Place is a drop-in center focusing on LGBTQ+ youth up to 25 years of age who are unstably housed, couch surfing or experiencing homelessness.
FCAC Foster Care Advocacy Center is a nonprofit multidisciplinary law office that provides holistic representation for children and parents involved in the child welfare system in the greater Houston area. They are providing pro-bono legal assistance to any parent who receives an allegation of abuse under this directive.
Organizacion Latina Trans in Texas is a community-based organization, made up of Trans women for Trans people (Transsexuals, Transgender and Intersex) and their allies. They maintain their work focus for visibility and eligibility, human rights and the well-being of our community, through empowerment, and community organization that allows promoting a political impact on fairness and equality.
The ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal, Equality Texas, and TENT all operate a website called TxTransKids.org where you can find additional resources and information.
You can also contact our organizations in the following ways:
Visit the ACLU of Texas’ website if you want to get connected, and seek legal assistance here.
Visit Lambda Legal’s website for more information. They are partnering with Foster Care Advocacy Center, and will be referring all cases they receive in Texas to them. If you’d like to reach FCAC directly for representation, you may call 713-814-3930.
Visit Equality Texas’ website for more information and to get in touch.
Visit TENT’s website for more information and to get in touch.
Trans Lifeline provides trans peer support for our community that’s been divested from police since day one. They’re run by and for trans people.
True Colors Unites True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people.
1800 Runaway For 50 years, the National Runaway Safeline has been responding to youth and families in crisis, serving as the national communications system for runaway and homeless youth. We continually transform technology, training and services to meet the current needs of vulnerable youth and ultimately achieve an end to youth homelessness.