little girl with butterfly backpack runs toward the capital

‘Genocidal’: Transgender people begin to flee states with anti-LGBTQ laws

Laws restricting gender-affirming care have prompted some families to move.

By Kiara Alfonseca June 11, 2023

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EXCERPT: When Texas officials announced their intentions to launch child abuse investigations involving people who provide gender-affirming care for their transgender children, Susan’s heart dropped.

Susan has a 7-year-old transgender daughter, Elsa, whose parents asked that she be referred to by a pseudonym for safety reasons, who they say may one day need such care.

Elsa’s parents describe her as wise beyond her years. She had expressed that she was a girl from an early age and guided her parents through her gender journey – asking to wear dresses, change her name, and to be referred to as a “daughter” by her parents.

“When she was 3, one day, she told me, ‘I’m a girl person,’” Susan said in an interview with ABC News. It was National Daughters Day, “and she said, ‘Can I be your daughter?’ – which made me cry.”

Susan and her husband Brian, who asked that their last names not be used for safety reasons, decided the family needed to move out of Texas in light of the child abuse investigation threats. They say they weren’t sure how far the government would go to separate families like their own or affect Elsa’s access to care as she gets older.

Her family is not alone. Across the country, advocacy groups say some families are packing up and moving out of their home states that have implemented anti-LGBTQ legislation to get to a place with greater protections for the community, according to queer advocacy groups nationwide.

But Elsa didn’t want to leave, telling Susan, “‘But mommy, I can handle anything as long as we’re together,’” Susan said.

Susan told her: “I feel the same way. I think we could handle anything when we’re together. But the reason that we have to go is that they could make it so we can’t be together anymore.”

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