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Judge Temporarily Blocks Texas Investigation of Parents of Trans Teen

The ACLU and Lambda Legal defended the family of a 16-year old trans teen who faces investigation in Texas over gender transition care

On Wednesday, a Texas judge blocked the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teen over gender transition treatments, but did not stop the state from investigating other reports about children receiving similar care.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary order halting the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigation into the parents of a 16-year-old girl. The parents of the teen sued the state over the investigation. The move follows Gov. Greg Abbott’s order last week that officials look into reports of such treatments as abuse.

Meachum’s written response noted that the parents and the teen “face the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”

The judge set a March 11 hearing to determine if she would issue a more expansive temporary order blocking enforcement of Abbott’s order.

The lawsuit marks the first report of parents being investigated as a result of Abbott’s order. 

The same week, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a nonbinding legal opinion labeling specific gender-confirmation treatments as “child abuse.” 

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of the teen’s family.

Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas attorney, said, “We appreciate the relief granted to our clients, but this should never have happened and is unfathomably cruel. Families should not have to fear being separated because they are providing the best possible health care for their children.”

The judge issued the order after attorneys for the state and the parents appeared via Zoom in a brief hearing.

Lambda Legal’s senior counsel, Paul Castillo, told the judge that allowing enforcement of the order would cause “irreparable” harm to the teen’s parents and other families.

“It is unconscionable for DFPS to still pursue any investigation or inflict more trauma and harm,” Castillo said in a statement.

The two groups also represent a clinical psychologist who has stated that Abbott’s order would force her to choose between reporting her clients or losing her license, among other penalties.

Ryan Kercher, an attorney with Paxton’s office, told Meachum that the governor’s order doesn’t require the state to investigate every transgender child receiving care.

Abbott’s order goes against the country’s most considerable medical groups, including the American Medical Association. According to Time Magazine, the groups have opposed similar directives throughout the U.S.

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