Texas is stopped by a judge from investigating trans youth families

A Texas judge temporarily stopped the state's investigation into transgender families who had received gender-confirming medical treatment on Friday.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
11 June 2022 Saturday 02:02
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Texas is stopped by a judge from investigating trans youth families

A Texas judge temporarily stopped the state's investigation into transgender families who had received gender-confirming medical treatment on Friday. This is a new obstacle for the state to label such treatments child abuse.

Jan Soifer issued a temporary restraining order that stops investigations into three families who sued and also prevents similar investigations against PFLAG Inc members. It has over 600 members in Texas.

Soifer stated at the conclusion of the roughly 40-minute hearing, "I do believe there is sufficient cause to believe that plaintiffs will suffer immediate and inexorable injury if (Department of Family and Protective Services] are allowed to continue to apply and enforce this new Department Rule that equates gender affirming child abuse with child abuse."

This ruling comes just a month after Texas Supreme Court granted the state the right to investigate transgender parents for child abuse. It also ruled in favor of one family, who was first contacted by child welfare officers following an order from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Brian K. Bond, executive Director of PFLAG National stated in a statement that families would be protected from invasive and unnecessary investigations by DFPS because they help their transgender kids thrive and be themselves. Let's not forget, however, that these investigations into affirming and loving families should not be taking place in the first instance.

Lambda Legal and American Civil Liberties Union brought the latest challenge on behalf of the three teenage boys' families aEUR", two 16-year olds, and a 14 year-old aEUR", and PFLAG. The judge was informed by a Lambda Legal attorney that the state had dropped its investigation into the family of the 14-year old.

Spokespeople for Attorney General Ken Paxton and Abbott did not respond to our requests for comment on Friday afternoon.

The state's attorney had claimed that the order was not valid and could be applied to any PFLAG member. It would be very difficult for the department of Justice to follow through. Paul Castillo, Lambda Legal's senior counsel, said that parents can simply show their membership receipts or any other proof of membership.

In court filings, the families discussed the anxiety they felt and the impact it had had on their children. One of the teens' mothers claimed that her son tried suicide, and she was admitted to hospital the day Abbott issued the directive. After learning that the teenager had been prescribed hormone therapy, the outpatient psychiatrist facility where he was admitted reported him to the family. She also filed a court filing.

Abbott's order was rescinded by a judge in March after a lawsuit was brought by a 16-year old girl on her behalf. Her family claimed that it was being investigated. In May, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the lower court had overstepped its authority and blocked all further investigations.

This lawsuit was the first to be filed following Abbott's directive. A prior non-binding legal opinion from Paxton, which referred to certain gender-confirming treatments "child abuse", also marked this as the first time parents were being investigated. Following the opinion and directive, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service said that it has opened nine investigations.

The directive of Abbott and the opinion of the attorney general go against the nation’s largest medical organizations, including the American Medical Association. They have been opposed to Republican-backed restrictions in statehouses across the country.

Arkansas became the first state in America to adopt a law banning gender-confirming treatment for minors last year. Tennessee also approved a similar law. The Arkansas law was blocked by a judge. Next week, a federal appeals court will hear arguments.

A hearing was held on June 21 to determine whether the judge would extend the injunction into a temporary injunction that would block the investigations.

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