AP

Judge blocks Texas investigating families of trans youth

Jun 10, 2022, 12:37 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2022, 1:44 am

A Texas judge on Friday temporarily blocked the state from investigating families of transgender children who have received gender-confirming medical care, a new obstacle to the state labeling such treatments as child abuse.

The temporary restraining order issued by Judge Jan Soifer halts investigations against three families who sued, and prevents any similar investigations against members of the LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG Inc. The group has more than 600 members in Texas.

“I do find that there is sufficient reason to believe that the plaintiffs will suffer immediate and irreparable injury if the commissioner and the (Department of Family and Protective Services) are allowed to continue to implement and enforce this new Department rule that equates gender affirming care with child abuse,” Soifer said at the end of a roughly 40-minute hearing.

The ruling comes about a month after the Texas Supreme Court allowed the state to investigate parents of transgender youth for child abuse while also ruling in favor of one family that was among the first contacted by child welfare officials following order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

“That families will be protected from invasive, unnecessary, and unnerving investigations by DFPS simply for helping their transgender children thrive and be themselves is a very good thing,” Brian K. Bond, executive director of PFLAG National, said in a statement. “However, let’s be clear: These investigations into loving and affirming families shouldn’t be happening in the first place.”

The latest challenge was brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the families of three teenage boys — two 16-year-olds and a 14-year-old — and PFLAG. An attorney for Lambda Legal told the judge that the 14-year-old’s family had learned after the lawsuit’s filing that the state’s investigation into them had been dropped.

Spokespeople for Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

An attorney for the state had argued during the hearing that applying the order to any member of PFLAG was “untenable” and would be difficult for the department to comply with. But Lambda Legal senior counsel Paul Castillo said that parents could simply show their membership receipt or some other proof of membership.

The families had talked in court filings about the anxiety that the investigations had created for them and their children. The mother of one of the teens said her son attempted suicide and was hospitalized the day Abbott issued his directive. The outpatient psychiatric facility where the teen was referred reported the family for child abuse after learning he had been prescribed hormone therapy, she said in a court filing.

A judge in March put Abbott’s order on hold after a lawsuit brought on behalf of a 16-year-old girl whose family said it was under investigation. The Texas Supreme Court in May ruled that the lower court overstepped its authority by blocking all investigations going forward.

That lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott’s directive and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming treatments as “child abuse.” The Texas Department of Family and Protective Service has said it opened nine investigations following the directive and opinion.

Abbott’s directive and the attorney general’s opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions filed in statehouses nationwide.

Arkansas last year became the first state to pass a law prohibiting gender-confirming treatments for minors, and Tennessee approved a similar measure. A judge blocked Arkansas’ law, and a federal appeals court will hear arguments in the case next week.

The judge set a June 21 hearing on whether to extend the order into a temporary injunction blocking the investigations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

1 day ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

2 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

4 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

4 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Judge blocks Texas investigating families of trans youth