Transitioning Texas Law into the Modern Era: A Dismantling of the Texas Attorney General’s Opinion on Gender-Affirming Healthcare

Gender-affirming healthcare is instrumental in ensuring youth survive adolescence when their gender identity differs from their assigned gender at birth. Contrary to medical recommendations, state governments across the Nation have embarked on a quest to ban access to this care for minors. These governments act under the guise of the “child’s best interest,” but in actuality are unnecessarily interfering in the complex patient–doctor relationship. In 2022, the Texas executive branch sought to label gender-affirming care as child abuse, paving the way for a successful legislative ban in 2023. Relying upon dubious legal principles, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a formal opinion arguing that providing puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and gender-affirming surgeries to minors constitutes child abuse. This Note examines each of the constitutional and statutory arguments Attorney General Paxton advanced, disproves each of his arguments in turn, and provides reassurance to concerned individuals that gender-affirming healthcare is adequately regulated and in the best interest of the child.