Despite State Injunctions, Parents Say Texas Is Still Investigating Trans Kids for Potential 'Abuse'

When it comes to gender identity issues, some conservatives make a mockery of liberty and parental rights.


Even though two state judges have ordered Texas officials to stop initiating abuse investigations of families of trans youths while a lawsuit moves forward, those investigations are still happening, according to some new court filings.

In February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton put out a memo declaring that it's considered possible child abuse worthy of potential prosecution if parents seek medical treatment like puberty-blocking drugs or hormones for trans kids. Gov. Greg Abbott subsequently ordered the state's Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to launch investigations, even if the trans kids, parents, and medical professionals were all in agreement with the line of treatment.

Investigations did indeed follow and parents quickly filed lawsuits, assisted by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas to try to stop this harassment. There have been multiple injunctions by state district judges Amy Clark Meachum and Jan Soifer stopping investigations of the families involved in the lawsuits. But despite the individual injunctions, other families with trans youths continue to report that state officials are investigating, interviewing, and, according to parents involved, traumatizing trans kids.

Two additional families have come forward. In one case, a trans teen was pulled out of class and interrogated by officials asking personal questions, including probing him about a previous suicide attempt. For the second family, DFPS officials opened up an investigation of a student who was exploring "social transitioning," asking to be called by they/them pronouns, and seeing a psychiatrist but not receiving any medical care. Under Paxton's own guidelines, this student should not have been investigated in the first place. Yet, months after the state was told the student was not getting treatment, officials nevertheless demanded the mother show proof that "some third party confirm they are 'well-adjusted.'"

The Austin American-Statesman explains that these new affidavits were gathered and submitted to Meachum as the judge considers a request to widen the injunction to protect more families from this investigation.

Remarkably, the response from Paxton's office to the lawsuit has been to try to convince an appeals court to overturn the injunctions against the investigation on the grounds that the parents lack standing to sue. Even though Paxton's office put out a memo that warned that "mandatory reporters" (like teachers and social workers) face potential prosecution if they don't alert DFPS about trans youths, and despite the governor putting out a written order calling for DFPS to launch these investigations, Paxton argues it's too soon for legal action to take place:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked an appeals court to overturn Meachum's injunctions, arguing in part that the families don't have standing to sue because they complained of potential, not actual, harm. No transgender children have been removed from home and placed into foster care, and no parents have been placed on the state's child abuse registry, his lawyers have argued.

That may be true. They're just being dragged out of class and interrogated, and parents are being ordered to provide medical proof that their kids are "well-adjusted."

It seems there is abuse going on here, and it's by the state of Texas. Yes, the treatment of trans teens and youths with other gender issues is a complicated affair, and it is very natural to be worried about kids making permanent changes to their bodies and then regretting it. But liberty (and "parental rights") calls for us to respect choices that other people's families make with the assistance of medical staff they've chosen to associate with, even if they're not the decisions we would make.