Texas judge blocks investigation of parents over treatment of trans youth

A judge in Travis County, Texas, has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating the family of a transgender youth who filed a lawsuit earlier this week.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit Tuesday after Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed state health agencies to investigate the medical treatment of transgender youth as “child abuse.” The suit was filed on behalf of a DFPS employee who is the parent of a transgender teen, her spouse and her teen.

In Wednesday’s order, Judge Amy Clark Meachum wrote:

From the facts set forth in Plaintiffs’ Petition, and the declarations attached thereto, the Court finds Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury unless Defendants are immediately restrained from enforcing the Governor’s letter and the DFPS statement. … The Court finds Jane Doe has been placed on administrative leave at work and is at risk of losing her job and that Jane, John and Mary Doe 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 Court further finds that if placed on the Child Abuse Registry, Jane Doe could lose the ability to practice her profession and both Jane and John Doe could lose their ability to work with minors and volunteer in their community

While the lawsuit had sought to block implementation of the directive statewide, Meachum’s order applies only to the family who brought the suit. The court will hear arguments on whether to block investigations across the state next week. “We are relieved for our plaintiffs and ready to keep fighting to stop the governor, commissioner, and DFPS from inflicting further harm on trans people and their families and communities across Texas,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project.