Houston Matters

The mother of a transgender child in Texas says she lives in a near-constant panic attack

Houston’s Ann Elder shares what it’s like to be the mother of a transgender child.

Ann Elder and her son, Benjamin
Courtesy: Ann Elder
Ann Elder and her son, Benjamin.


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Listening to a recent conversation on Houston Matters gave Ann Elder a panic attack. That’s because she’s the mother of a transgender child who fully transitioned at the age of 7 and is now 16.

The conversation was about the authority Child Protective Services has in Texas over the families the state's child welfare agency investigates. The discussion was prompted by Gov. Greg Abbott's recently blocked directive to CPS to investigate parents providing gender-affirming care for their kids as child abuse.

While a judge halted such investigations — for now — we discussed how the child welfare agency once such investigations are under way has broad authority to delve into a variety of aspects of a family's life.

Hearing all that triggered Elder’s anxiety and spurred her to contact Houston Matters with her story. So, we invited her to come talk about her experience.

In the audio above, she tells producer Michael Hagerty about the long process of determining her child was transgender, about finding a way to afford expensive medications, about the fallout in her extended family, and what it is like to be a political football in Texas.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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