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Texas judge halts 'child abuse' investigation into parents supporting transgender child

The state's Republican governor has ordered officials to look into reports of gender-affirming care as abuse.

2022-03-03

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

A judge in Texas has blocked an investigation into parents of a transgender child who helped said child with gender-affirming treatment.

It follows a directive from the Texas's Republican governor ordering officials to look into reports of gender-affirming care as abuse.

This applies to one case only where the parents are suing the state, but a court hearing next week could see the policy applied across the state. 

"Defendants have trampled on the Constitutional rights of transgender children"

Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services was asked to investigate parents of trans children by the state's governor, Grego Abbott (Republican). Abbott also called on teachers, doctors, and nurses to report parents if they suspect a child is getting gender-affirming treatment. 

This request follows an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (also Republican) who said that gender-affirming care is considered child abuse under state law. 

A lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal, to the new policy was filed on 1 March and says "Governor Abbott’s letter instructing DFPS to investigate the families of transgender children is entirely without Constitutional or statutory authority". 

"Defendants have trampled on the Constitutional rights of transgender children, their parents, and professionals who provide vital care to transgender children. The Defendants have, without Constitutional or statutory authority, acted to create a new definition of “child abuse” that singles out a subset of loving parents for scrutiny, investigation, and potential family separation," it continues. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a DFPS employee, her husband who have a trans child. The ACLU reports that the couple were visited by an investigator and requested access to the child's medical record, which the parents refused. 

Adri Pérez, a policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, says "No family should have to fear being torn apart because they are supporting their trans child."

Accusing the Republican leaders of a "partisan political attack" Adri goes on to say that "Families with trans kids in Texas have been under attack for too long. Gender-affirming health care saved my life, and other trans Texans should be able to access medically necessary, lifesaving care."

The ACLU says a court could rule as soon as Tuesday 8 March.

Attitude's new-look March/April issue is out now.