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Texas Lawmaker Says Allowing Trans Kids To Be Themselves Is Child Abuse

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By John Wright

Asserting that transgender people are mentally ill, a Texas lawmaker claimed that allowing kids to explore their gender identities amounts to child abuse.

Representative Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, made the comments Tuesday, July 11, during a panel discussion on anti-transgender “bathroom bills,” hosted by the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Sanford alleged there is a “movement” in Texas schools to encourage children to explore their gender identities, which he called a “travesty” given high suicide rates among trans people.

“So now, to lead a kid—a child—down the road of exploring an identity other than their biology,” Sanford said. “If you just simply lead them down that path, I believe that’s child abuse, because you’re leading them toward a 40 percent chance of taking their own lives.”

In response to Sanford’s remarks, Equality Texas sent an email to supporters under the subject line, “This is what we’re up against.”  The statewide LGBTQ advocacy group urged recipients to contact their lawmakers in advance of the special session that begins next week.

“Anti-LGBTQ extremists like Rep. Sanford don’t care how much they have to lie while they spend each and every day scaring their colleagues into supporting these horrible bathroom bills,” Equality Texas wrote.

Watch Sanford’s comments shortly after the 50:00 mark in the video above.

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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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