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Gov. Greg Abbott signs legislation barring trans youth from accessing transition-related care

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Gov. Greg Abbott signs legislation barring trans youth from accessing transition-related care

Gov. Greg Abbott signs legislation barring trans youth from accessing transition-related care” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Friday a bill that bars transgender kids from getting puberty blockers and hormone therapies, though the new law could face legal challenges before it takes effect on Sept. 1.

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Senate Bill 14's passage brings to the finish line a legislative priority for the Republican Party of Texas, which opposes any efforts to validate transgender identities. Trans kids, their parents and LGBTQ advocacy groups fiercely oppose the law, and some have vowed to stop it from going into effect.

Texas — home to one of the largest trans communities in the U.S. — is now one of over a dozen states that restrict transition-related care for trans minors.

“Cruelty has always been the point,” said Emmett Schelling, executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas. “It's not shocking that this governor would sign SB14 right at the beginning of Pride [Month]; however this will not stop trans people from continuing to exist with authenticity — as we always have.”

Authored by New Braunfels Republican state Sen. Donna Campbell, the law bars trans kids from getting puberty blockers and hormone therapies, treatments many medical groups support. Children already receiving these treatments will have to be “weaned off” in a “medically appropriate” manner. The law also bans transition-related surgeries for kids, though those are rarely performed on minors.

Those who support the law claim that care providers have capitalized on a “social contagion” to misguide parents and push life-altering treatments on kids who may later regret their decisions. SB 14's supporters have also disputed the science and research behind transition-related care.

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But trans kids, their parents and major medical groups say these medical treatments are important to protecting the mental health of an already vulnerable population, which faces a higher risk of depression and suicide than their cisgender peers. At the same time, doctors say cutting off these treatments — gradually or abruptly — could bring both physical discomfort and psychological distress to trans youth, some of whom have called it forced detransitioning.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center pledged on May 18 to fight SB 14 in court. They have yet to file a lawsuit.

“Transgender people have always been here and will always be here,” Ash Hall, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said Friday. “Our trans youth deserve a world where they can shine alongside their peers, and we will keep advocating for that world in and out of the courts.”

This legal threat is not new; some of these groups have sued several other states over their restrictions. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice also joined the legal fight against Tennessee's ban.

While the lawsuits are tailored to each state, Sasha Buchert, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal and the director of its Non-Binary and Transgender Rights Project, told the Texas Tribune last month that a major common challenge to the laws hinges on the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and the argument that these laws are stopping trans kids from accessing the same medical treatments that are still available to their cisgender peers.

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Buchert added that the lawsuits' immediate goal is generally to get a preliminary injunction to stop these laws from taking effect, a tactic that has seen some success.

“It's one thing to see some of the things that state legislators do, but it's a completely different thing when you're under the white-hot spotlight of judicial scrutiny,” she said.

And prior to SB 14, the ACLU and Lambda Legal successfully sued Texas last year to halt state-ordered child abuse investigations of parents who provide their trans kids with access to transition-related care. Impeached attorney general Ken Paxton later appealed the decision in March, but the 3rd Court of Appeals has yet to issue a ruling on it.

“It's a privilege to be able to fight,” Buchert said about the ongoing court challenges that Lambda Legal is involved in.

Disclosure: The ACLU of Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/06/02/texas-gender-affirming-care-ban/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf in Yellowstone National Park fulfills Lakota prophecy

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abc13.com – AP – 2024-06-13 08:58:48

SUMMARY: A rare white buffalo calf, born in Yellowstone National Park, is seen as a fulfillment of Lakota prophecy and a sign to protect the earth, according to spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse. The calf’s birth follows a severe winter that resulted in the death or relocation of over 1,500 bison. Erin Braaten photographed the calf in the Lamar Valley. The birth holds deep spiritual significance for the Lakota, akin to the second coming of Jesus Christ. A ceremonial event celebrating the calf’s birth is planned for June 26, despite conflicting views on bison population management in Yellowstone.

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Tips on water conservation during summer drought months

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www.kxan.com – Rich Segal – 2024-06-13 08:16:59

SUMMARY: Recent rains have slightly improved the water levels in Lakes Buchanan and Travis, but water conservation remains crucial during the peak summer heat in Austin. To drought-proof lawns and plants, using a thick layer of mulch can help retain soil moisture. Indoor water conservation is also essential; leaks can waste up to 10,000 gallons annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meteorologist Rich Segal discussed water-saving tips with Elizabeth Simmons from the “Take Care of Texas” nonprofit, who highlighted optimal times for watering lawns and gardens for maximum efficiency.

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The post Tips on water conservation during summer drought months appeared first on www.kxan.com

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Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida is set to be demolished

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abc13.com – AP – 2024-06-13 07:29:42

SUMMARY: The three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died in a 2018 mass shooting, begins its demolition on Friday. Previously serving as evidence in the shooter’s trial, the building’s destruction was delayed due to heavy rain. The project aims to be completed before the school’s 3,300 students return from summer vacation. Families of victims have varied opinions on the demolition; some see it as a painful but necessary step in healing, while others wanted it preserved for educational purposes. The building’s removal follows precedents set by other sites of school shootings. The replacement plans remain undecided.

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The post Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida is set to be demolished appeared first on abc13.com

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