Texas Judge Temporarily Blocks State Effort to Investigate Parents of Transgender Children

© AP Photo / Eric GayDemonstrators gather on the steps to the State Capitol to speak against transgender-related legislation bills being considered in the Texas Senate and Texas House, Thursday, May 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Demonstrators gather on the steps to the State Capitol to speak against transgender-related legislation bills being considered in the Texas Senate and Texas House, Thursday, May 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.03.2022
A Texas judge has ordered an immediate halt to the state's investigation of parents who support their transgender children, which began recently after Republican Governor Greg Abbott decreed the practice to be child abuse.
In a Friday ruling, Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a statewide temporary injunction halting investigations by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) via its Child Protective Services (CPS).
"The state is enjoined from prosecuting parents and providers for providing gender affirming care as well as placing parents on registry," Meachum ordered.
On February 22, Abbott ordered DFPS to begin investigating parents of transgender children who support their child's trans identity, as well as the medical facilities that provide support for trans children. He cited as justification a legal opinion by State Attorney General Ken Paxton several days earlier, finding that "a number of so-called 'sex change' procedures constitute child abuse under existing Texas law."
In practical terms, what the order would mean is that the state of Texas would remove trans children from their families and place them with new families or in foster homes, neither of which would support them expressing their trans identities. The situation has caused numerous families to flee the state or seek out legal counsel to challenge the state probes.
However, Meachum sided with a challenge to Abbott's order by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), finding that it "was given the effect of a new law or new agency rule despite no regulative action. It violates separation of powers."
Texas is just one of several states that have attempted to ban trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care, part of a massive nationwide effort by members of the Republican Party to roll back LGBTQ rights at the state level. However, Abbott's order is by far the harshest iteration.

In response, many experts and activists have accused the state of genocide against trans people, pointing to the United Nations' definition of genocide, which includes causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group; deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and forcibly transferring children of a group to another group.

GOP politicians say they are acting to protect children from "pushy" doctors and parents they claim are forcing "gender ideology" on unassuming children. All gender-affirming, hormone therapy, and transition-related services are purely voluntary. Further, all major medical associations oppose such bans, and numerous studies have shown that access to gender-affirming care translates into better health outcomes for trans patients - and that denial of affirming care correlates with sharp spikes in attempted suicide.
Earlier this week, the GOP-controlled Florida government passed a bill banning discussion of LGBTQ topics in schools, which has been nicknamed the "Don't Say Gay" bill. In response to widespread criticism of the measure, Christina Pushaw, Governor Ron DeSantis' spokesperson, accused opponents of being "groomers" - a term for pedophiles who lure children into trusting them so they can take sexual advantage of a child.
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