Texas Supreme Court rules ‘child abuse’ investigations into parents of trans kids can go ahead

LGBTQ

Texas court rules child abuse investigations can go ahead for families seeking gender-affirming care for trans children (Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that “child abuse” investigations into gender-affirming care for trans children can go ahead.

In late February, Texas governor Greg Abbott ordered the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate families and doctors pursuing or providing gender-affirming care for trans youth for “child abuse”.

Amid national and global disgust, a district court issued a temporary injunction on 11 March, halting such investigations statewide.

A Texas appeals court upheld the injunction on 22 March, however the Texas Supreme Court struck down the injunction Friday (13 March), meaning families can be investigated once more.

The DFPS confirmed in March that it had opened nine “child abuse” investigations into the supportive families of trans youth in the state.

Chuck Lindell, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesmzan, broke the news that the court had struck down “a statewide injunction barring child abuse investigations for families that provide gender-affirming care”.

The ruling allows the injunction to remain in place for one family who launched a lawsuit against the DFPS and Greg Abbott after they were investigated for child abuse.

The couple, identified as “Jane and John Doe”, were under investigation for providing gender-affirming care to their 16-year-old “Mary Doe”, who is trans. The mother, who worked for DFPS, was placed on leave and investigated for child abuse after she spoke to a supervisor about what Abbott’s order meant for her family.

The injunction remaining in place for this family means that they will not be investigated for child abuse.

The chilling attack on trans youth and their families began in February 2022, when Abbott equated gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers, to “child abuse”.

The state attorney general Ken Paxton ALSO published a 13-page legal opinion claiming that he believed that providing gender-affirming care to children is “child abuse” under Texas law.

The opinions put forward garnered biting criticism, with actor Elliot Page saying in an interview with Variety that their views were “inhumane”.

“I am horrified by the inhumane and downright dangerous declarations by the Texas governor and attorney general,” he said.

“Trans youth deserve gender-affirming care and to be able to live their true, authentic selves without fear and oppression. I stand with trans youth and their families.”

Clinical psychologist Megan Mooney told the court when the injunction was upheld in March that Abbott’s order had caused “outright panic” among mental health professionals and families of trans youth in the state.

“Parents are terrified that [child protective services] is going to come and question their children, or take them away,” Mooney testified.

“Mental health professionals are scared that we’re either violating our standards and professional codes of conduct, or in violation of the law.”

The ruling cam shortly after a Texas state judge ruled that a Dallas hospital could resume gender-affirming care for trans youth for the next two weeks in a temporary injunction.

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