Mother flees Texas to protect her trans son from governor’s anti-trans attacks: ‘I can’t raise my child here’

Headshot of Camille Rey and Greg Abbott

A desperate mother has fled the US state of Texas to shield her trans son from governor Greg Abbott’s cruel crackdown on gender-affirming healthcare.

Last month, the Republican governor ordered Texas’ child protection agency to investigate parents and guardians who are supporting their trans child’s healthcare for “child abuse”.

The order stirred fear and frustration among families in the Lone Star state. Capturing this is Camille Rey who told NBC DFW that she has relocated to protect her nine-year-old trans son, Leon.

“I just decided I can’t raise my child here,” she told the broadcaster.

“The only choice we have is to try to make the world a better place for them, and to give them everything they need to thrive, not just survive even but to thrive.

“So I just want people to know that nobody chooses this. It’s really challenging, but we do it all out of love for our children, and they are beautiful children who teach us so much about being true to yourself.”

Leon had been receiving gender-affirming healthcare before the family packed their bags to Washington DC after more than six decades, fearful that simply supporting their son would put the family at risk.

Abbott ordered the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families for abuse. But though the number of inquiries launched remains unclear, several parents and guardians of trans youth say that state officials have contacted them.

The order capped off the state’s years-long slide into anti-trans policy, with the Rey household knowing that all too well.

They had frequently protested outside the Texas Capitol as lawmakers inside debated bills that would further restrict Leon’s rights.

“He overheard me having a conversation with his older sister of how it’s important to love yourself,” Cammille said.

“And he piped up in the background, and at seven years old said, ‘Well, I don’t love myself.’ And I was like: ‘What? Well, we’ve got to look into that.'”

On Wednesday (9 March), a Texas appeals court firmly rejected an effort by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton to investigate a supportive, loving family seeking healthcare for their 16-year-old daughter.

The family brought the lawsuit after the mother, who works for the DFPS, was placed on administrative leave amid Abbott’s orders. 

According to the complaint, the mother, referred to as Jane Doe, has been “unable to sleep” over worries about the future and how “they can keep their family intact and their daughter safe and healthy”.

The order has truly shuddered fear throughout Texas, with the Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest paediatric hospital in the state, pulling all hormone therapies for trans youth amid legal threats. 

“They just don’t have a lot of empathy for some people that are just different, but they’re still human,” Leon told Spectrum News.

“And if you’re human, you shouldn’t treat others differently.”