LGBTQ Legal Issues

Parents of transgender teen win TRO that blocks Texas from investigating them

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A judge in Travis County, Texas, has blocked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from investigating parents of a transgender teenager who is getting medical treatments for gender dysphoria.

Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday that applies only to the parents who sued. A hearing on whether to issue a broader injunction is scheduled for March 11, according to a press release by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU of Texas, the ACLU, Lambda Legal and Baker Botts had filed the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are anonymous parents Jane and John Doe and a psychologist who said a Texas directive to report parents who provide treatments violates her ethical obligations.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state’s child protective agency last month to investigate parents who provide treatments to their transgender children, such as puberty-suppressing drugs, hormones and sterilization. Abbott acted after Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion saying such treatments can constitute child abuse.

The Jane Doe parent who sued is an employee of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The suit said an investigator has already arrived at the home that she shares with her husband and transgender child who is 16 years old.

The lawsuit contends that the directive was issued without proper authority, in violation of the Texas Administrative Procedures Act, state constitutional separation of powers requirements and the constitutional rights of transgender youths and their parents.

In her March 2 opinion, Meachum said the Jane Doe parent has been placed on administrative leave at work and is at risk of losing her job. The psychologist could face civil suits if she complies with the directive and prosecution if she doesn’t.

The plaintiffs will face irreparable injury absent the TRO, Meachum concluded.

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