LGBTQ-inclusive church offer grants to help trans youth seek gender-affirming care

An LGBTQ-inclusive church in Texas is offering grants to trans youth who require gender-affirming care but can’t access it because of the state’s “cruel ban”.

Galileo Church, in Kennedale (about 30 miles east of Dallas), vows: “To do justice for LGBTQ+ people and support the people who love them”, by setting up a network to help transgender youngsters. 

Introduced in August, the North Texas TRANSportation Network (NTTN), a group of individuals and organisations, provides travel grants to families from the area who seek out-of-state care for trans and gender-diverse minors. 

Following a referral, a travel grant of $1,000 (£825) is sent to the applicant. To be eligible, they must live within one of 19 Texas counties.

“Healthcare is a human right, and withholding necessary care for trans kids is state-sponsored cruelty,” a section of the network’s website reads. “As neighbours to one another, we seek ways to help [one another’s] families flourish.”

The network was formed in response to Senate Bill 14 being signed into law, which banned trans healthcare for minors across the Lone Star State from June.

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On 25 August, a temporary injunction was placed on the bill, following a state district judge ruling that it violated the rights of transgender children and their families, and doctors’ ability to abide by “well-established, evidence-based” medical guidelines.

But the reprieve was short-lived and six days later it was lifted by the entirely Republican Texas Supreme Court, with no explanation to back the decision.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas attacked the decision in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Let’s be clear: trans youth are loved and belong in Texas. We won’t stop until this cruel ban is struck down,” they wrote.

In a post about the network, the church said: “It might be the most important work we’ve ever done.” 

Under SB14, gender-affirming care to treat minors with gender dysphoria,including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, is illegal, and any healthcare providers who offer this faces having their licence revoked.

Exceptions have been made for minors who were already receiving gender-affirming care before 1 June – although they will be forcibly “weaned off” any drugs that have been prescribed. 

The ban, which has been condemned by pro-LGBTQ+ organisations, largely disregards studies that show trans people who have access to gender-affirming treatment are significantly less likely to experience depression and anxiety or consider suicide than those who are prevented from accessing such treatments.  

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