Proud mum of trans girl vows to sue state of Texas: ‘I’m showing my child that she’s not powerless’

Lisa Stanton and her daughter smile during an interview for KPRC Click2Houston

The proud mum of a young trans girl plans to sue Texas for treating her daughter like a “second-class citizen”.

Lisa Stanton is among the many parents who’ve been fighting Texas’ anti-trans sports ban, which was passed in October.

She told PinkNews that her family has been fighting “these types of attacks since 2017” when Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill” failed to pass during a special session. But, she said, this most recent legislative session was “unlike anything I could have ever imagined”.

Lisa said her family drove hours back and forth to Austin to fight various pieces of anti-trans legislation this year, including the chilling SB 1646, which would have defined parents of trans kids who consented to their gender-affirming care as “child abusers”. The bill died in May, having never made it past a house committee.

However, Lisa said the fight for equal rights for the trans community is far from over, especially after Texas passed its reviled anti-trans sports ban last month.

With many families planning to leave the state as a result of the legislation, hers has made the decision to stay in Texas to continue their fight.

“Being that we are planning to stay in Texas, we’re going to be suing,” Lisa said. “We are not going to sit idly by and let this law make our child a second-class citizen.”

House Bill 25, which will take effect in January, requires student-athletes who compete in interscholastic competitions to play on sports teams that align with the sex listed on their birth certificate issued at or near the time of their birth.

Lisa didn’t know the exact details of her family’s potential lawsuit at this point, saying they were waiting to see if groups such as the ACLU or Lambda Legal would be taking legal action against Texas.

If either organisation does, Lisa’s family would seek to join as plaintiffs. They have also looked into suing the state as private citizens.

The ACLU of Texas told PinkNews it is “still exploring the legal options for HB 25”. PinkNews has reached out to Lambda Legal for comment.

Lisa said her daughter, Maya, should have the right to play on sports teams of the gender she identifies as, and there was “absolutely no merit” to the argument of anyone who said otherwise.

“She deserves the ability to play with her peers and gain all the things that come from being a part of a team,” she added.

Lisa argued the anti-trans sports ban is “100 per cent unconstitutional” and is a “violation of Title IX”, a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or education programme that receives federal funding.

She added that “we’re going to see a lot of problems in our society” if “we just accept [it] every time something wrong happens or an injustice happens”.

“Because people say: ‘No, we can do better, and we’re going to continue to fight,’” she told PinkNews. “I don’t want to give up and just say: ‘The bill passed, oh well,’ and I’m not modelling that for my child, that she’s powerless in this.”

She continued: “We’re going to continue to fight, and I firmly believe that justice will win out in the end and that the right side will prevail.”

Though Lisa and her family aren’t planning to leave Texas right now, she admitted there is a “very overwhelming fear” that her family might have to continuously fight against anti-trans legislation when the state legislature convenes every two years. After what her family has gone through over the last 10 months, she is worried this “would break us” emotionally.

“What I’ve seen – the physical toll that the stress is manifesting on my child, my husband – forget it,” Lisa said. “We’re not going to do this every two years, and that’s going to be Texas’ loss because we’re really good citizens who show up, are there for our communities, and we try to make stronger communities.”

She described suffering from a rash that “won’t go away”, experiencing hair loss, insomnia and depression that is “all directly linked” to the attacks on the trans community in Texas.

“It takes me hours to fall asleep at night because I worry about all of this,” she shared. “It’s all incredibly taxing on our psyche and our bodies.”