National Coalition for LGBTQ Health Strongly Opposes Texas AG Ken Paxton’s Dangerous Attack on the Health of LGBTQ Young People
March 25, 2022
Washington, DC – This week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement saying the City of Austin Independent School District’s Pride Week, as part of the 20th Annual National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, is “breaking state law.” National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, created and hosted by the National Coalition for LGBTQ Health along with its nearly 600 partner organizations, is focused on raising awareness of mental health, transgender health, and ending stigma for LGBTQ+ communities. Attorney General Paxton’s statement also comes on the heels of his and Texas Governor Abbott’s attempts to classify gender-affirming care as ‘child abuse’.
“The National Coalition for LGBTQ Health strongly opposes Attorney General Ken Paxton’s statement, and firmly stands with the Austin Independent School District, Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde, and Austin’s LGBTQ+ students and allies,” said the National Coalition for LGBTQ Health’s Executive Director Brian Hujdich. “Rather than working to ensure the health and safety of students, Attorney General Paxton’s discriminatory statement only serves to alienate and further endanger students in Texas. To the LGBTQ+ students in Austin and around the country: ‘We see you clearly, we hear you loudly, and we stand with you proudly.’”
Just today, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a letter encouraging providers to provide access to gender affirming care and treatment services to transgender and gender diverse individuals with HIV. The announcement of the gender affirming care letter comes as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services commemorates the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.
In the U.S., LGBTQ+ youth face disproportionate mental health challenges compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers due to stigma and discrimination. Young LGBTQ+ people report far greater rates of violence, risk for suicide and suicidal ideation, and substance use. In a CDC report, nearly half of all transgender youth reported being bullied on school property, and 29 percent of transgender youth, 21 percent of gay and lesbian youth, and 22 percent of bisexual youth have attempted suicide.