Mum and son move 1,000km from Texas to Colorado to escape cruel new trans laws: ‘It was hard’

A Texas judge has granted a temporary injunction against the state's ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.

A mother and son have moved 1,000km across the US to escape cruel new trans laws in Texas that slash access to gender-affirming healthcare for young people.

In a documentary film for NBC OUT, Katie Laird and her 16-year-old son Noah have described the process of moving from their home in Texas, to Colorado, after Noah lost access to his gender-affirming care.

The family said they had been “living in fear” until they moved in June of this year, after Texas attorney general Ken Paxton described gender-affirming care as “child abuse”.

In a move quickly blocked by a judge, governor Greg Abbott, along with Paxton directed the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to begin child abuse investigation on families who have provided their offspring with gender-affirming care.

The Texas Children’s Hospital then decided to pause all gender-affirming care for minors, including Noah, due to concerns over Abbott and Paxton’s attack on trans youth. It was this decision that triggered the move for Noah and his family.

“It was just hard, and it still is hard to leave literally everything I’ve ever known in my entire life,” Noah told NBC.

Laird added she and Noah will continue fighting for trans rights in Texas, despite having moved.

“That is a commitment that Noah and I made when we left,” she said.

“This is our home. We have been pushed from it, and we will keep fighting, no matter where we live, for the state because we know that what happens in Texas has great influence across the nation, and we have to stay in the fight.”

Texas has pushed through several anti-LGBTQ+ laws over the past year, with legislation seeking to ban all public drag performances, a ruling that Christian companies can deny life-saving PrEP coverage for HIV, and a ban on trans youth playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identities.

And a mother of a trans son who left the state in November 2021 said it was a “relief” to be out of Texas after several anti-trans bills passed.

Hillary Moore-Embry told PinkNews their family left after a ban on trans children taking part in the school sports team of their choice.

“Even if it hadn’t passed, listening to those lawmakers, listening to their plans, listening to how they view my child – this is not a place that I feel safe for him,” Moore-Embry said.

“This bill is not the end. They will come after trans people in other ways. This is just a foot in the door.”

When the transphobic sports ban passed in October 2021, Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, said he was “devastated”, adding that the “testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates” had been “powerful”.

“Our organisations will begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritise representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong,” he said.