LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock activists are criticizing two bills from Sen. Charles Perry, one that would prevent transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports, and another that would classify gender reassignment procedures as child abuse for children under 18.
“It’s very exhausting because most of the time it seems completely pointless. Plain and simple, it’s just an anti-transgender bill. All of these are,” Acting President of Lubbock Pride Nick Harpster said.
Harpster says he is frustrated by recent legislation written by State Senator Charles Perry.
Perry’s bill S.B. 29 passed in the Senate on Thursday. It would prevent transgender female athletes, born male but who now identify as female, from participating in women’s sports.
Perry says this is common sense law, introduced under Title IX rules.
“It’s just an effort to preserve the tradition, the history, and provide safe competition for women with their biological peer group,” Perry said.
But Harpster, and other advocacy groups, claim it is a veiled attempt to target the trans community.
“I’m honestly not surprised, which is kind of sad to say. It’s very similar to the bathroom bills that were trying to be passed in 2017. It’s just purely an attempt to erase the LGTBQ community,” Harpster said.
Another bill, S.B. 1646, would deem any gender-affirming medical practices “child abuse” if performed on a minor. If passed, parents who allow their child under the age of 18 to take puberty blockers or hormone treatments, or undergo gender reassignment surgery, could be charged with a felony. Exceptions are included for intersex children.
Senator Perry says the goal of the bill is to protect children from making a long-term decision they “may regret.”
“I’m asking, why do we want to do it when children can’t understand or comprehend the consequences of doing it. Let them be 18 and above, so they can probably understand... what it really means to do it. And they can go forward,” Perry said.
“We don’t give children enough credit,” Harpster said. “They know how they identify very early on and it’s actually very detrimental to their mental health to delay transitioning. To make that child abuse, to me, is almost child abuse in it of itself.”
The Senate Committee on Public Affairs held a hearing on the Senate floor on Monday, April 12. Next week, S.B. 29 will head the House for approval and 1646 will head to committee in the Senate.
Perry has denied that either represent “anti-trans” sentiment.