Skip to Content

Palm Springs Mayor comments on Texas governor’s order to investigate treatments for trans youth as ‘abuse’

Full statement from Mayor Middleton

Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton issued a statement reacting to Texas Governor Gregg Abbott's order calling for investigations of transgender youth as "child abuse."

On Tuesday, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a directive to the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of gender-confirming care for kids as abuse.

“I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas,” Abbott said in a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Abbott’s letter came after Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton this week released a non-binding legal opinion that labeled certain gender-confirming treatments as “child abuse.” 

Opponents say the directive is a first by any governor over GOP efforts to restrict transgender rights. The uncertainty over the impact is largely due to the fact that attorney general opinions do not carry the weight of law.

"It is in the spirit of our city and history that I must say something," Middleton said during Thursday's city council meeting.

Middleton is a notable figure in trans history in this country.

When she was first elected to the Palm Springs City Council in Nov 2017, she became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California. Five years later, Middleton went on to become mayor of Palm Springs, becoming the first-ever transgender mayor in California history and the third-ever in U.S. history.

"Please understand what it means to be the parent of a transgender child. Please imagine the tears throughout the family as your child told you their truth. Their most difficult, essential, and personal truth," Middleton said. "A truth like anything you have ever known. You had a choice, 'can I and do I stand with my child.' You made a choice to stand up for your child. To give your child the best opportunity to be the best person they can be. And the governor of the state of Texas wants to prosecute you for standing up for your child."

"Well if not in Texas, in Palm Springs, we stand with transgender children and their families."

- Palm springs mayor lisa middleton

Middleton continued, "I have lived this life. We are who we are. You cannot change a child into someone they are not. But what you can do, and what this will do, is break their spirit. I know. I am today a transgender woman but while I have been and will always be transgender, I have never had the opportunity to be a transgender child because I wasn't brave enough to come out. I wasn't brave like the transgender children in Texas or Florida or South Dakota or Missouri or like those in California."

Middleton ended her statement by reading a message from the city of Palm Springs voicing its support for transgender youth and their families.

"You are loved, you are supported, you are respected and you will always have a home in the city of Palm Springs, you will always have a home in California," Middleton said.

Palm Springs Councilmembers voiced their support for Mayor Middleton statement.

"To see the trans community under attack is just horrific and I'm just truly proud of Mayor Middleton, truly proud to call her a friend, for her leadership and her voice in this effort," said Councilmember Christy Holstege.

The opinion by Paxton is directed at treatments that include puberty blockers and hormone therapy. It comes months after Texas Republican legislators— who filed more anti-LGBTQ proposals last year than in any other statehouse — proposed laws banning such treatments but failed to pass them.

Arkansas became the first state to pass a law prohibiting gender confirming treatments for minors, and Tennessee approved a similar measure.

Numerous states also have enacted laws banning transgender students from competing in scholastic sports on the basis of their gender identity.

Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, said no other governor has taken the same action as Abbott. She called it a “lawless interpretation” and expressed worry for parents.

“The terror that is being struck into their hearts is very real,” Oakley said. “I’m also thinking about the kids who are relying on that care and how frightened the are.”

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Jesus Reyes


News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content