Texas

Watch: With a “feeling of betrayal,” one family flees Texas in search of safer climate for their transgender daughter

Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents who provide their children with gender-affirming care, driving one such family to leave home.

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Ess Welsh spent her entire life in Texas. It's where she fell in love with marching band, where she found a community of fellow Dungeons and Dragons players, and where she faced the looming threat of her family being investigated for child abuse.

In February, Gov. Greg Abbott told the Texas Department of Family Protective and Services to investigate families providing their transgender children with gender-affirming care. The directive is still in legal limbo.

[What is gender-affirming medical care for transgender children? Here's what you need to know.]

For the Welsh family, leaving Texas means facing huge financial risks, severing community ties, and breaking bonds with trusted therapists and care providers. However, staying carries the threat of investigations, family separation and a loss of the crucial gender-affirming medical care that leading medical organizations have deemed medically necessary.

The Welsh family was just one of many grappling with this difficult decision.


The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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