Austin City Council passes gender affirming care protections after Texas lawsuit

The Austin City Council passed protections for gender-affirming care Thursday, only a few days after the state of Texas filed a lawsuit over Title IX changes granting protections for transgender people.

“Trans people deserve the right to self determination,” City Council member José “Chito” Vela, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said at a Thursday Austin City Council meeting.

“Our state has forced them and their medical providers into hiding, and that is wrong,” Vela continued. “Austin should not be a party to that anymore than we legally have to be.”

A draft of the resolution states that “except to the extent required by law, it is the policy of the City that no City personnel, funds, or resources shall be used to investigate, criminally prosecute, or impose administrative penalties upon” transgender and nonbinary people looking for health care or those who provide health care to transgender and nonbinary people.

The resolution’s passage comes shortly after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sued the Biden administration over a final set of changes to Title IX, unveiled last month, that add protections for transgender students to the federal civil rights law on sex-based discrimination. The changes will take effect in early August.

“Texas will not allow Joe Biden to rewrite Title IX at whim, destroying legal protections for women in furtherance of his radical obsession with gender ideology,” Paxton said Monday in a news release.

Paxton also blasted the Austin resolution in a statement Thursday, saying it is “riddled with problems.”

“If the City of Austin refuses to follow the law and protect children, my office will consider every possible response to ensure compliance,” Paxton continued in the statement. “Texas municipalities do not have the authority to pick and choose which state laws they will or will not abide by. The people of Texas have spoken, and Austin City Council must listen.”

The Texas Supreme Court allowed a state law barring gender-affirming care for transgender youth to go into effect in August 2023, after a legal battle over the legislation.

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