Texas Judge Blocks Probe of Parents of Transgender Teen

It's a temporary move
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 2, 2022 1:30 AM CST
Updated Mar 3, 2022 1:31 AM CST
Parents of Transgender Teen Say Texas Is Investigating Them
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas on June 8, 2021.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Update: A Texas judge has temporarily blocked the state's child welfare agency from investigating the parents of a transgender teen. The couple was previously under investigation for alleged child abuse due to providing gender-affirming medical care for the teen, and the judge's order is in response to a lawsuit filed over the issue, USA Today reports. A March 11 hearing will be held on whether the agency will be barred from treating gender-affirming care as child abuse, as Gov. Greg Abbott ordered last month. Our original story from Wednesday follows:

The parents of a transgender teenager in Texas said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the state is investigating them after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered officials to look into reports of gender-confirming care for kids as abuse, the AP reports. The parents of the 16-year-old girl are asking a judge to block the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from investigating them and the parents of other transgender youth under a directive Abbott issued last month. "Their actions caused terror and anxiety among transgender youth and their families across the Lone Star State and singled out transgender youth and their families," said the lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.

The lawsuit marks the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott's order and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming treatments as “child abuse." DFPS, which last week said it did not have any open cases, said Tuesday it had received three reports since Abbott's directive and Paxton's opinion but would not say how many resulted in investigations. The lawsuit doesn't name the parents, but said the mother works at DFPS on the review of reports of abuse and neglect. The day of Abbott's order, she asked her supervisor how it would affect the agency's policy, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said the mother was placed on leave because she has a transgender daughter and the following day was informed her family would be investigated in accordance with the governor's directive. Abbott's directive and the attorney general's opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions filed in statehouses nationwide. The Texas teen, who has received puberty-delaying medication and hormone therapy, has been “traumatized” by the prospect of being separated from her parents and losing her care, the lawsuit said.

(Read more Texas stories.)

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