Jun 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Families of Texas trans kids sue over abuse investigations on parents

Picture of Greg Abbott

Photo: Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Three Texas families have filed a lawsuit demanding that a court block state investigations against them for supporting their transgender kids with gender-affirming care.

Driving the news: The Texas Supreme Court said last month state agencies could, but were not required to, continue investigating parents for child abuse if they seek gender-affirming care for transgender kids, under a directive Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued in February.

  • Days after the decision, Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) said it would continue the investigations despite the court saying that Abbott's directive was "nonbinding."

State of play: The families in the latest suit are being investigated by state officials and are seeking to block the directive. They have asked for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the DFPS investigations into them while the case is tried.

  • They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of Texas, along with a Texas-based law firm.
  • The families are all part of PFLAG National, an organization "dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families." The lawsuit is being brought by the families along with PFLAG.

What they're saying: "It is indefensible for any state leader to repeatedly attack trans Texans and weaponize the child welfare system against the loving families of transgender kids and teens," said Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas.

  • "Transgender kids deserve to have life-saving gender-affirming care in Texas, so that they might live safely grow up to be transgender adults. During this Pride Month, we must take a stand against government leaders that are hellbent on stoking fear, and trying to criminalize transgender young people and their families."

Between the lines: Medical organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association, have condemned Abbott's directive to restrict gender-affirming medical care, saying it could have a detrimental effect on the mental health of transgender youth.

  • Over two-thirds of LGBTQ youth have said that debates over state laws that target transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, according to a poll by the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

Go deeper: Understanding Abbott's order on trans kids in Texas

Go deeper