When it comes to protecting the rights of trans youth in Texas, stars are getting on their digital soapboxes.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a directive Tuesday ordering the state child welfare agency to investigate reports of “gender-transitioning procedures” as child abuse.
The move comes one day after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a written opinion defining gender-affirming care as child abuse under state laws – and months after state lawmakers considered but did not pass similar bills when the Legislature met last year.
Transgender advocates accused Abbott and Paxton of twisting state law to meet their political goals and biases, particularly after efforts to define gender-affirming medical care as child abuse died last year in the Texas House after passage in the Senate.
Many celebrities, including Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Jamie Lee Curtis and Elliot Page have also joined the growing conversation on social media.
Background: Texas governor orders state agency to treat gender-affirming care as child abuse
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Elliot Page, who came out as transgender in 2020, said he was “horrified by the inhumane and downright dangerous declarations.”
“Trans youth deserve gender-affirming care and to be able to live their true, authentic selves without fear and oppression,” the actor said in a statement to Variety. “I stand with trans youth and their families.”
“This is where we are,” Union tweeted Tuesday. “We shot past dangerous and horrific a long time ago. The rubber has hit the road so who is standing shoulder to shoulder in this fight?”
Trans inclusivity is a cause close to Union’s heart. The “Bring It On” star’s 14-year-old stepdaughter, Zaya, came out as transgender in February 2020.
Union previously told USA TODAY that she and husband Dwyane Wade have raised their children to “stick up for people” and “say something,” much like themselves.
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Washington wrote on Twitter that Gov. Abbott’s gender care order was “horrific.”
“My heart goes out to the entire Trans community of Texas and their families,” the “Scandal” actress continued. “Texas, this is happening in your state. Now is the time to use your voice and your VOTE.”
“Frozen” star Josh Gad called it “pure evil.”
gad continued: “Cruelty isn’t a policy. Bigotry is not leadership. Transphobia doesn’t solve real world problems like a broken education system, failing infrastructure & rising student debt. This isn’t leadership. It’s hate.”
“This is horrifying,” actor Jon Cryer tweeted. “Kids will die because of this.”
“This is monstrous,” award-winning author Neil Gaiman tweeted of the order.
“Good God. This is Orwellian,” CNN commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas wrote.
“You are monsters. Every single one of you,” alternative pop duo Tegan and Sarah wrote, in reference to Abbott and “every single adult obsessively fixing on hurting trans youth.”
“Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” host Andy Cohen used his social media platform to raise awareness, sharing a Twitter thread containing a copy of Abbott’s directive.
“As a mother of a trans person I’m am outraged!,” actress tweeted Jamie Lee Curtiswho revealed in a July 2021 AARP magazine interview that her 25-year-old daughter Ruby is a trans woman.
At the time, Curtis said she and her husband Christopher Guest were watching with “wonder and pride” as Ruby transitioned.
In an October 2021 interview with People, the “Halloween Kills” actress said she’s still learning from her daughter. “It’s speaking a new language,” Curtis told the outlet. “It’s learning new terminology and words. I am new at it.”
Curtis added: “I am not someone who is pretending to know much about it. If one person reads this, sees a picture of Ruby and me and says, ‘I feel free to say this is who I am,’ then it’s worth it.” .”
“Wow, just when you thought he couldn’t get any worse…Greg Abbott is a ghoul,” Elijah Wood wrote on Twitter. “My heart is with the families that are effected by this heinous order.”
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Advocacy groups also pushed back
Texas Freedom Network President Val Benavidez said the state action could deny “life-saving care for transgender youth.”
“Transgender people already experience stigma and discrimination, harassment and violence simply because of who they are,” Benavidez said, adding that politicians are using vulnerable youths as political pawns. “Regardless of opposition from child welfare and medical groups, Paxton and the Texas GOP continue to create barriers and laws that strip transgender children and their families of civil and equal rights.”
Equality Texas, an LGBTQ advocacy group, said all children deserve to grow up healthy and learn to take care of their bodies in a way that helps them live full, happy lives.
“For transgender kids, this might include gender-affirming care that has been endorsed by pediatricians and come to help kids’ mental health and future well-being,” the organization said in a statement.
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Contributing: Chuck Lindell, Austin American-Statesman; Elise Brisco and Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gabrielle Union, Elliot Page react to Greg Abbott’s Texas trans order
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism