Texas judge halts investigations on supportive parents of Trans youth

The judge issued an injunction for the child abuse investigations into parents of Trans kids launched after Texas Gov. Abbott's directive.

People protesting in Texas, where a judge blocked investigations into parents of Trans kids. They carry a Trans flag and signs reading 'Protect Trans Youth' and 'Doctors know better than Abbott'.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

On March 11, a state judge in Texas ordered to put a stop to the child abuse investigations on parents of Trans children launched by Governor Greg Abbott’s order. The judge ruled that the governor’s actions “violate separation of powers by impermissibly encroaching into the legislative domain”.

Texas District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary injunction that will stop state agencies from investigating parents who support gender-affirming medical care for their Trans children. According to the judge, Abbott’s directive to carry out such investigations was “beyond the scope of his authority and unconstitutional”. The injunction will apply statewide and will remain in effect until July when there will be a further trial.

The ruling came after a Texas court rejected efforts by attorney general Ken Paxton to carry out investigations into the parents of a Trans teen seeking gender-affirming care. The teen’s mother worked for the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the very same state agency that opened nine child-abuse investigations into supporting families of Trans youth. The family brought a lawsuit forward after she was placed on administrative leave.

One of the first people to testify at the hearing that resulted in the injunction was an investigations supervisor for DFPS, Randa Mulanax, who reported that the state agency ordered them to prioritise cases involving parents of Trans children after Texas Gov. Abbott’s order. Moreover, she explained that investigators weren’t allowed to mark those cases as “priority-none”. Mulanax said she found this “unethical” and it was the reason why she decided to resign.

Other speakers testified on the consequences that these investigations were generating for Trans kids and their parents, not to mention the panic among health professionals. “Parents are terrified that [child protective services] is going to come and question their children, or take them away,” said clinical psychologist and plaintiff Megan Mooney “Mental health professionals are scared that we’re either violating our standards and professional codes of conduct or in violation of the law.”

Moreover, Sarah Orkan, an advocate for children in the foster care system, read a letter from an eight-year-old Trans girl in front of the court. The girl said that because of the investigations she was now “worried about not being treated the same as others”, something she had not experienced before.

Yet, the promoters of the investigations continue to invoke the “protection of children” to defend their efforts in restricting Trans youth’s rights. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton assured his followers on Twitter that the state would continue to fight in order to conduct these “necessary investigations” and that his office will “fight to protect our Texas children”.

Many have spoken out against the oppressive directive issued in Texas, including US President Biden. Recently, even Texas-native pop sensation Lizzo spoke out in support of Trans kids and their parents. “I’m proud to rep Houston, but I’m not proud to rep Texas politics right now,” she said. “There are very regressive laws being passed. They’re taking away the right for young children to have a chance to live authentically as themselves. It’s a violation of human rights. Trans rights are human rights.”

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