TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott drew a firestorm of controversy last week when he issued a directive that, in part, orders the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of transgender children who permit their kids to undergo some gender-affirming care.
On Tuesday, the ACLU of Texas, along with the Lambda Legal, announced it has filed a lawsuit to block the directive.
“No family should have to fear being torn apart because they are supporting their trans child,” said ACLU of Texas policy and advocacy strategist Adri Pérez. “A week before an election, Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a partisan political attack that isn’t rooted in the needs of families, the evidence from doctors and the expertise from child welfare professionals. Families with trans kids in Texas have been under attack for too long. Gender-affirming health care saved my life, and other trans Texans should be able to access medically necessary, lifesaving care.”
The lawsuit was filed in Travis County state court and in addition to Abbott names DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters and DFPS as defendants. It was filed on behalf of a DFPS employee with a transgender child, her husband, and the teen herself.
Abbott’s directive includes investigation of parents of transgender children who permit them to get procedures including sex-change operations and a regimen of prescribed puberty blockers.
The directive followed an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that states that some gender-affirming care for transgender children constitutes child abuse under state law.
“Because the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is responsible for protecting children from abuse, I hereby direct your agency to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas,” Abbott wrote.
“These efforts to cut off and criminalize necessary health care for transgender minors are in direct conflict with the recommendations of medical professionals and have nothing to do with what’s best for trans youth,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. “They may be escalating, but these attacks are not new. Trans youth need you to take the fury you have over what’s happening in Texas and share it with lawmakers in every state that is trying to make it harder for trans youth to survive.”
Abbott’s directive has additionally been opposed by five Democratic Texas district attorneys, Christian Menefee, an attorney who represents the DFPS in child abuse cases in Harris County, and others.
The ACLU said it’s anticipated the court could rule as soon as Tuesday.