Texas court temporarily stops investigations of families of transgender kids

A Texas appeals court on Monday restored an injunction temporarily blocking the state Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating the parents of transgender children who receive gender-affirming care, which Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has called “child abuse.”

The Texas Third Court of Appeals ruled on a motion filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and Lambda Legal, which had asked that an emergency order be issued to ensure that the injunction remains in effect during an appeal.

The ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal had filed a lawsuit earlier this month on behalf of a Texas transgender teen’s parents who were being investigated for possible child abuse by the DFPS following an order from Abbott for the agency to investigate reports of minors receiving gender-affirming care as child abuse.


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A lower court last week issued an injunction halting the state’s investigation into parents who allow their children to receive gender-affirming care, writing that the family involved in the lawsuit faces “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.”

That decision was almost immediately appealed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who in February authored an opinion claiming that some types of gender-affirming care for trans or nonbinary youth amounted to “abuse” under his interpretation of Texas law. Paxton’s opinion is not legally binding.

“Democrat judge tries to halt legal and necessary investigations into those trying to abuse our kids through ‘trans’ surgeries and prescription drugs. I’m appealing. I’ll win this fight to protect our Texas children,” Paxton wrote on Twitter after the injunction was issued.

Shortly after filing his appeal, Paxton tweeted that the judge’s order was “frozen.”

“Much-needed investigations proceed as they should,” he wrote. “This fight will continue up to the Supreme Court. I’m ready for it.”

But the appeals court on Monday reinstated the injunction, finding that allowing DFPS to investigate gender-affirming care as child abuse “would result in irreparable harm.”

“Having reviewed the record, we conclude that reinstating the temporary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo and preserve the rights of all parties,” the court wrote.


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