North Texas Daily

Trans rights activists hold protest outside state Rep. Lynn Stucky’s office

Trans rights activists hold protest outside state Rep. Lynn Stucky’s office

Trans rights activists hold protest outside state Rep. Lynn Stucky’s office
April 22
14:44 2021

Editor’s note: The North Texas Daily interviewed Kevin Whitt, a former Texas GOP staffer who led the counter-protest. We ultimately chose not to include this interview due to Whitt’s participation in the capitol insurrection and his statements regarding the alt-right group Proud Boys, for which he was fired

In the wake of three bills targeting transgender healthcare under consideration in Texas, pro-LGBTQ+ activists protested outside the office of state Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton, who co-authored a bill deeming gender-affirming treatments as child abuse.

The event was organized by Amber Briggle, Denton business owner and LGBTQ+ activist, and saw over 100 protestors who gathered to object to or support Stucky’s co-authoring of  House Bill 68, dubbed the “The Vulnerable Child Protection Act.”

Filed by Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, the legislation was introduced into the Texas House’s public health committee on Feb. 25. If passed by the House and Senate, it would expand the state’s classification of child abuse to include multiple gender-affirming actions by medical and mental health professionals.

Briggle, whose son is transgender, said she believes the push by conservative politicians to introduce bills targeting transgender individuals’ healthcare, legal identities and participation in sports was brought on by the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 through Supreme Court Case Obergefell v. Hodges.

“I think Republicans are feeling threatened and trying to find new targets,” Briggle said. “We didn’t see these attacks against the transgender community until the right lost marriage equality in 2015. So, they shifted their focus from the ‘LGB’ to the ‘T’ […] Republicans are trying to find red meat that they can throw on the frontline for the primary election.”

Briggle said she was angered by Stucky co-signing the bill despite being a personal friend of Briggle’s family who knew her son.

“[Stucky] has shaken my son’s hand, has hugged me on multiple occasions and then signed his name onto a bill which would accuse me of being a child abuser, strip my children from my home and land me in jail[…] for providing [my son] with the support he needs,” Briggle said.

One post on Briggle’s Facebook page includes her and her children smiling in a group photo with Stucky.

While both groups of counter-protestors and protestors initially occupied the employee entrance of the First State Bank, which houses Stucky’s office, the number of pro-LGBT+ protestors drove the counter-group to the sidewalk near local Mexican restaurant Mi Casita.

Briggle’s group numbered around 100, while the group supporting Stucky’s bill and others amounted to a dozen, children included.

Rex Davis, a 26-year-old restaurant worker, said he opposed the bill as he felt it didn’t reflect the reality of gender transition. 

“This doesn’t mean giving an eight-year-old hormones right away, it means giving children puberty blockers, which have proven to be safe,” Davis said. “It delays the onset of puberty, so the child can decide, ‘Maybe, I do want hormones. Maybe, I do want surgery. Maybe, I don’t.'”

Davis reflected on his past experience as a transgender man and how he was not given such a choice when he was growing up.

“I didn’t know those things existed,” Davis said. “If I had, I probably would have been spared a lot of grief in my life. The fact they want to put the pain on the parents for taking care of their children? No. I don’t see how making sure your child is mentally well and happy is child abuse.”

Among those protesting was Denton city councilwoman Deb Armintor, who said the bills and similar legislation are “hateful.”

“[The bill] wants to go backward on civil rights instead of forwards,” Armintor said. “I think it’s totally counter to the spirit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that they claim to be representing. It is totally antithetical to their opposition to government overreach. It is government overreach.”

During the Texas House’s 87th Legislature, Rep. Toth said he found it “ironic” that the 86th legislature passed legislation making it illegal for 18-year-olds to buy cigarettes.

“But a 7-year-old can begin the process of chemically and surgically changing their sex,” Toth said. “We clearly have this wrong. One of the first bills I filed in the 87th Legislative Session was a bill to stop this child abuse. We were kept from protecting these children in the 86th. We’re going to get this right in the 87th.”

Other bills relating to transgender healthcare in the Texas legislature include Senate Bills 1646 and 1311, which similarly expand abuse to gender-affirming medical procedures and prohibits health care providers who perform these treatments from getting liability insurance.

Featured Image: Over 100 protesters gathered outside of Rep. Lynn Stucky’s Denton office on April 21 to protest House Bill 68. Image by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia

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Will Tarpley

Will Tarpley

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