A Texas judge has blocked the investigation of a trans teen’s parents and psychologist, after Gov. Greg Abbott decreed last week that trans children’s gender-affirming health care was “child abuse” and should be investigated as such, resulting in the criminalization of parents and health-care providers, and the potential separation of parents from their children.
As a result of Abbott’s directive, Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) launched an investigation into the family—the mother herself works for DFPS. Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU of Texas), and the ACLU subsequently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family. The lawsuit names Abbott, DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters, and the DFPS as defendants.
District Judge Amy Clark Meachum, who issued the temporary restraining order blocking the investigation, said the 16-year-old trans girl and her parents faced “the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”
It is known that at least two other families are being investigated in Texas. As The Daily Beast has reported, the state is only one of a number of Republican-controlled states seeking to enshrine an array of health-care bans, bathroom bans, and sports bans on transgender youth in a legislative push that began in earnest last year when Arkansas became the first state to pass a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. That law is the subject of an ongoing legal challenge.
Judge Meachum said she would hold a hearing next week to consider a “statewide temporary injunction that would prevent the investigation of any reports of people facilitating or providing gender-affirming care to transgender minors solely based on the fact that the minors are transgender.”
“We are relieved that—at least for now—the threat of a child abuse investigation is no longer hanging over the heads of the family members in this case,” said Paul Castillo, Lambda Legal senior counsel, in a statement. “It is unconscionable for DFPS to still pursue any investigation or inflict more trauma and harm. We look forward to continuing the fight for all Texas families.”
“We appreciate the relief granted to our clients, but this should never have happened and is unfathomably cruel,” added Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas attorney. “Families should not have to fear being separated because they are providing the best possible health care for their children. The elected leaders and agencies of this state should not play politics with people’s lives. We will do all that’s possible to stop these abuses of power and ensure transgender young people can receive medically recommended treatment.”