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US - March 11, 2022

Texas Blocked From Investigating Transgender Kids’ Parents For Child Abuse



A Texas judge on Friday blocked the state from investigating as child abuse gender confirming care for transgender youth.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary injunction preventing the state from enforcing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to compel the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate.

The injunction broadens Meachum’s earlier order blocking the state’s investigation of the parents of one transgender teenager. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of the parents of the 16-year-old girl over the investigation and Abbott’s directive.

The lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott’s directive and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming treatments as “child abuse.” DFPS said it has opened nine investigations following the directive and opinion.

The groups also represent a clinical psychologist who has said the governor’s directive forces her to choose between reporting clients to the state or losing her license and other penalties.

The governor’s directive and Paxton’s opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions on transgender people filed in statehouses nationwide.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

A Texas judge is holding a hearing Friday on whether state officials should be allowed to conduct child abuse investigations over transgender youth receiving gender confirming care.

The hearing comes the same day that dozens of major companies — including Apple, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Meta and Microsoft — criticized the Texas directive in a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News.

“The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies,” read the ad, which used the headline “DISCRIMINATION IS BAD FOR BUSINESS.”

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum heard hours of testimony Friday in the lawsuit filed by the parents of a 16-year-old girl who were investigated over gender confirming care their daughter received.

Meachum last week blocked the investigation and is considering whether to block similar investigations of other families. The parents sued over the investigation and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive that DFPS investigate reports of transgender youth receiving gender confirming care as child abuse.

The lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott’s directive and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming care as “child abuse.” DFPS said it has opened nine investigations since Abbott’s directive and Paxton’s opinion.

A child protective services supervisor testified Friday that she has resigned from the department because of concerns about the directive, and said cases involving gender confirming care were being treated differently than others.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of the parents.

Megan Mooney, a clinical psychologist also represented by the groups in the lawsuit, said the governor’s directive has caused “outright panic” among mental health professionals and families of transgender youth.

“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 groups also represent a clinical psychologist who has said the governor’s directive is forcing her to choose between reporting clients to the state or losing her license and other penalties.

The governor’s directive and Paxton’s opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions on transgender people filed in statehouses nationwide.





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