Updated Mar 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge temporarily bars Texas from investigating gender-affirming care for trans teenager

Photo of a person holding a sign that says "#TransKidsLives matter"
Transgender rights advocate holds a sign outside the Ohio statehouse. Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked Texas from investigating the parents of a trans teenager for child abuse because they sought gender-affirming care for her.

The big picture: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had sued the state, arguing that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) filed the directive without proper authority and that it violates the constitutional rights of transgender youth and their parents.

Details: Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum limited the temporary restraining order to the plaintiffs in the case, but has scheduled a hearing for March 11 to decide whether to block the directive more broadly.

What they're saying: The ACLU and The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, applauded the move.

  • "We appreciate the relief granted to our clients, but this should never have happened and is unfathomably cruel," Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas attorney, said in a statement.
  • "Families should not have to fear being separated because they are providing the best possible health care for their children," he added. "We will do all that’s possible to stop these abuses of power and ensure transgender young people can receive medically recommended treatment."
  • "We are optimistic that judges will continue to see the governor’s action for what it truly is — a politically-motivated opinion that will only pit the government against loving families, teachers against students, doctors against patients, and neighbors against neighbors," Sam Ames, The Trevor Project's director of advocacy and government affairs, said in a statement.

President Biden weighed in on Wednesday evening, condemning Abbott's directive as "government overreach at its worst."

  • "Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the Governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points," he said in a statement.
  • "Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized."

Worth noting: Advocates and medical professionals have expressed concern that restricting access to gender-affirming care could cause mental distress and lead to a rise in suicidal thoughts.

  • 85% of trans and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws that restrict trans people's rights have negatively impacted their mental health, per a January poll.
  • 52% of trans and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year while one in five made an attempt, according to a 2021 survey by The Trevor Project.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Biden's comment.

The headline and story have been corrected and updated to show the judge temporarily blocked Texas from investigating the parents of a trans teenager and will hold a hearing on a temporary statewide injunction on Friday March 11, she did not block the directive entirely.

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