We’re doing our part as Texas Health Action to protect the right of trans people to access healthcare in Texas and expand HIV prevention and treatment services across the state. We are continuing to testify and meet with legislators to share our perspective as experts in providing healthcare to LGBTQIA+ Texans and people impacted by HIV. We have also been working alongside our advocacy allies to mobilize people to take action.
This Monday, hundreds of trans and non-binary Texans, parents of trans children and allies showed up to the Capitol to register and testify against House Bill 1686. HB1686 would ban gender affirming care for children under 18 in Texas. In the end, most of these Texans —many traveling from across the state —were not able to voice their opposition to this dangerous legislation after the Public Health Committee in the Texas House of Representatives ended testimony at midnight. This is after drawing out testimony of discredited “experts,” further spreading disinformation about healthcare for trans Texans and allowing many of these claims to go undisputed by medical experts and organizations like Texas Health Action.
We opposed HB1686 and planned to testify against this bill before the committee ended public testimony. We have already testified against HB1686’s Senate counterpart, SB14, in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Trans healthcare is healthcare. Legislators should not take away healthcare from trans youth to score political points.
Legislators should not insert themselves in the doctor’s office between the patient and provider. Legislators should not be in the business of taking away legally available healthcare. Legislators should not strip the rights of parents to choose the medical care they believe is in the best interest of their child. We’re doing our part and ask that you do yours to protect the right for trans Texans to access healthcare. You can still submit comments to the public health committee opposing HB1686 until Friday, 3/31 at 5pm.
While we continue monitoring anti-trans legislation, we are also proactively pushing for some good bills that would advance our mission. House Bill 2985 would remove prior authorizations for PrEP, helping people get started on preventative medication faster. We recently gave the author of this bill and first openly HIV positive elected official in the country, Rep. Venton Jones (TX-District 100), a tour of the Kind Clinic in Austin. We discussed ways we can expand access to medication and get Texans impacted by HIV into care faster with bills like HB2985. HB2985 was one of our priority bills during HIV Advocacy Day this Monday.
We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates to you, our supporters and our clients.