NASW Condemns Efforts to Redefine Child Abuse to Include Gender-Affirming Care
WASHINGTON, DC—The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) condemns Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s direction to the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to implement Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion to treat age-appropriate, medically necessary, gender-affirming treatment as child abuse. Although these cruel, politically motivated actions are non-binding, they perpetuate transphobia, and further harm the mental health and well-being of transgender and gender expansive youth by attempting to eliminate life-saving access to essential health services. These actions are taking place at a pivotal time: rates of suicide and compromised mental health for transgender youth are at an all-time high due to the persistent threats posed by transphobic laws and institutional policies. Because the Texas Attorney General’s discriminatory opinion does not qualify as a change in statute, it does not change evidence-based standards for the delivery of care nor does it change guiding ethical codes of professional conduct. The continued attempts in Texas to change the definition of child abuse are in direct opposition to social work values, principles, and Code of Ethics and pose an imminent danger to transgender youth and their families. Furthermore, these shameful actions undermine the established truth supported by every credible medical and mental health organization in the country that the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity are real and irrefutable components of one’s individual identity. What is transpiring in Texas is tragically only part of a larger anti-LGBTQ+ movement taking place across the nation that is directly aimed at the limiting the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people, with a heightened emphasis on the erasure of the human rights and civil liberties of transgender and gender expansive people. There are more than 266 anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. NASW stands against all efforts to limit the fundamental civil liberties of transgender youth, and their access to essential health services. We must remain vigilant in guarding ourselves against this climate of fear and disinformation by remaining anchored to our professional and enduring commitment to respecting dignity and worth of the all people and to challenging the injustices that befall vulnerable and oppressed people. NASW stands in solidarity with transgender and gender expansive youth and their support systems, and will continue to advocate with our coalition partners, with our NASW-TX Chapter, and with all of our state and local chapters to uplift transgender rights as human rights. Take Action: Texas Action Alert
Recent related legal cases handled by the NASW Legal Defense Fund: Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. (U.S. Supreme Court, 16-273) Case Description: Transgender male student denied use of boys’ bathroom. US Supreme Court remanded the case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration. NASW Supported: G.G. Date Brief Filed: 3/2/2017 Outcome: Remanded Doe v. Trump (U.S. District Court for D.C.) Case Description: Transgender military ban NASW Supported: Plaintiffs Jane Doe, et al Outcome: Favorable, in part Date Brief Filed: 10/4/17 Stockman v. Trump (U. S. District Court for the Central District of California) Case Description: Transgender military ban in California as a violation of the Fifth Amendment NASW Supported: Plaintiffs, Stockman, et. al Outcome: Favorable Date Brief Filed: 11/18/17 Doe v. Boyertown Area School District (U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit) Case Description: A challenge by non-transgender students to a Pennsylvania school district’s trans-inclusive restroom and locker room policy NASW Supported: Defendant/Appellee Boyertown Area School District Outcome: Favorable Date Brief Filed: 2/16/2018 R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District (Missouri Supreme Court) Case Description: Sex discrimination lawsuit involving transgender students being excluded from facilities (i.e. restroom, locker room) that correspond to their gender identity. NASW Supported: Appellant R.M.A. Outcome: Pending Date Brief Filed: 3/14/18 Maday v. District 211, Cook County Circuit Court (Illinois Court of Appeals) Case Description: Transgender student locker room access without restrictions NASW Supported: Plaintiff/Appellant Nova Maday Outcome: Pending Date Brief Filed: 3/23/18 R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District (Missouri Supreme Court) Case Description: Sex discrimination lawsuit involving transgender students being excluded from facilities (i.e. restroom, locker room) that correspond to their gender identity. NASW Supported: Appellant R.M.A. Date Brief Filed: 3/14/18 Outcome: Favorable – decided 2/26/19 R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home v. EEOC (U.S. Supreme Court) Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda Bostock v. Clayton County, GA Case Description: Whether Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on their status as transgender or sex stereotyping. NASW Supported: EEOC, Zarda, & Bostock Outcome: pending Date Brief Filed: 7/3/19 Parents for Privacy v. Dallas School District (U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 18-35708) Case Description: Transgender students use of facility that match their gender identity. NASW Supported: Dallas School District Outcome: favorable Decided: 2/12/2020 Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (U.S. Supreme Court, 17-1618; 17-1623; 18-107) Case Description: Whether Title VII protect gay and transgender workers NASW Supported: Bostock Outcome: favorable Date Decided: 6/5/2020 Hecox v Bradley (U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit Nos. 20-35813, 20-35815) Case Description: Challenge to Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act (H.B. 500) which bars all women and girls who are transgender from participating on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity. NASW Supported: Plaintiff-Appellees Outcome: Pending Date Brief Filed: 12/21/2020 Kluge v Brownsburg Community School Corp. (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Indianapolis Division 1:19-cv-02462-JMS-DLP) Case Description: The importance of addressing transgender students by names and pronouns that affirm their gender identities. NASW Supported: Brownsburg Community School Corp. Outcome: Favorable Date Brief Filed: 3/15/2021 Decided: 7/12/2021 Corbitt v Taylor (U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Cir. 21-10486) Case Description: Transgender Rights NASW Supported: Corbitt Outcome: Pending Date Brief Filed: 8/3/2021 Soule v CIAC (U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Cir. 21-1365) Case Description: Transgender Inclusive Policy NASW Supported: CIAC Outcome: Pending Date Brief Filed: 10/14/2021 Adams v School Board of St. John’s County (U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit) Case Description: Transgender Rights pertaining to restroom access NASW Supported: Adams Outcome: Pending Date Brief Filed: 11/24/2021 Meriwether v Hartop (U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 20-3289) Case Decription: First Amendment, Gender Identity, Transgender NASW Supported: Hartop Outcome: Unfavorable: Rehearing Denied Date Brief Filed: 12/7/2021
You can find more information on these cases at the NASW Legal Defense Fund amicus brief database.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.