Jun 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge blocks Texas officials from investigating families of trans children

Picture of a sign that says "protect trans kids!"
Photo: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A judge in Texas on Friday temporarily blocked Texas state officials from investigating parents for child abuse if they seek gender-affirming care for their trans children.

Driving the news: The court granted a temporary restraining order to block Texas' Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating families that are part of PFLAG National, an LGBTQ advocacy group that filed a lawsuit this week challenging a directive issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in February.

  • PFLAG is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of Texas, along with a Texas-based law firm in its lawsuit.

What they're saying: "That families will be protected from invasive, unnecessary, and unnerving investigations by DFPS simply for helping their transgender children thrive and be themselves is a very good thing," said Brian Bond, executive director of PFLAG.

  • "However, let’s be clear: These investigations into loving and affirming families shouldn’t be happening in the first place," he added.
  • "The court and Texans agree: weaponizing the child-welfare system against loving families causes irreparable harm," said Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas.

Catch up fast: The Texas Supreme Court said last month that state agencies could, but were not required to, continue investigating parents for child abuse if they seek gender-affirming care for transgender kids.

  • Days after the decision, DFPS said it would continue the investigations despite the court saying that Abbott's directive was "nonbinding."
  • There are multiple currently ongoing lawsuits challenging Abbott's directive.

Between the lines: Medical organizations 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

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