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Texas Democrat defends backing GOP bill banning gender care for minors: 'Children are not political pawns'

Texas state Rep. Shawn Thierry – a Democrat representing the Houston area – is defending backing a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors in the Lone Star State, crossing party lines to vote in favor of a bill that would restrict access to surgeries and cross-sex hormones to those under the age of 18.

“I just don’t think this is something that we can play politics with. Children are not political pawns,” Thierry said Monday on “Fox & Friends First.” 

After embarking on a personal journey to learn more about the treatments nearly two years ago, she said she drew conclusions from data showing countries walking back previously pushed gender-affirming treatments similar to those up for debate in her state and across the U.S.

TEXAS DEMOCRAT SIDES WITH REPUBLICANS ON BANNING ON SEX-CHANGE TREATMENTS, PUBERTY BLOCKERS FOR MINORS

Texas Dem Shawn Thierry

Texas State Rep. Shawn Thierry (D) is siding with Republicans to potentially ban gender-affirming care for minors in the Lone Star State. (Fox & Friends First/Screengrab)

“[These countries] are reversing course, they’re stating that puberty blockers should not be the first line of treatment for children who are experiencing gender dysphoria and there are very, very serious health risks with giving children cross-sex hormones,” she said.

Thierry, standing before her colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives, said the best practice should be to raise the legal age to receive such treatments to 18.

“We should also ensure that children and teenagers have quality access to mental health care that is in a safe and supportive environment,” she continued.

AP SHOCKS BY REPORTING TRANS KIDS ARE ‘PROTECTED FROM PARENTS’ WITH NEW GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE LAW

Shawn thierry pic

Texas State Rep. Shawn Thierry (D-146) (L) takes a selfie at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library. ((Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images))

She told Fox News’ Ashley Strohmier that her constituents are “overwhelmingly” on board with the bill, but crossing party lines was still risky.

“It’s unfortunate that, when it comes to our children’s health and wellbeing, that we have to play partisan politics,” she said. “I just listened to my constituents, I met with stakeholders, I listened to the advocates, and I read the data and I just don’t think that this is something that we can play politics with…”

Thierry also published a public letter explaining her stance on Friday, saying she believed her decision “is rooted in sound policy which supports the health, development, and overall well-being of minors.”

YOUTH TRANS CLINICS PROVIDING ‘GENDER-AFFIRMING’ CARE TARGETED BY NEW HAWLEY BILL

Transgender flag gender affirming care

A transgender flag unfurled on a pole.  (Getty)

Among her reasons to supporting raising the legal age for such treatments, she cited age limits for tobacco, tanning beds, tattoos and more, arguing she could not vote against the restriction in clear conscious.

“There have been so many parents and so many Democrats that have inboxed me that said they feel the same way, but they are just like I was. You can hear my voice trembling when I was speaking on the bill… there has been so much backlash and fallout [against people who support the idea] and that should not be the case.”

The bill passed the Texas House on the second reading, but still needs to pass a third reading to advance. 

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