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Texas judge blocks investigations of trans youth parents

Mar 11, 2022, 4:51 PM | Updated: 4:51 pm
Texas trans youth judge bans...
FILE - 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. A Texas judge on Friday, March 11, 2022 blocked the state from investigating as child abuse gender confirming care for transgender youth. District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary injunction preventing the state from enforcing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to compel the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate.(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

A Texas judge on Friday blocked the state from investigating as child abuse gender confirming care for transgender youth.

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary injunction preventing the state from enforcing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to compel the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate.

Related: Salt Lake County DA joins with dozens of justice leaders against Texas transgender plan

The injunction broadens Meachum’s earlier order blocking the state’s investigation of the parents of one transgender teenager. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of the parents of the 16-year-old girl over the investigation and Abbott’s directive. Meachum scheduled a trial for July 11 on the challenge to Abbott’s directive.

The lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott’s directive and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming treatments as “child abuse.” DFPS said it has opened nine investigations following the directive and opinion.

The groups also represent a clinical psychologist who has said the governor’s directive forces her to choose between reporting clients to the state or losing her license and other penalties.

The governor’s directive and Paxton’s opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions on transgender people filed in statehouses nationwide.

Meachum’s ruling came the same day that dozens of major companies — including Apple, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Meta and Microsoft — criticized the Texas directive in a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News.

“The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies,” read the ad, which used the headline “DISCRIMINATION IS BAD FOR BUSINESS.”

Meachum issued her ruling after several hours of testimony in the parents’ lawsuit challenging Abbott’s directive.

A child protective services supervisor testified Friday that she has resigned from the department because of concerns about the directive, and said cases involving gender confirming care were being treated differently than others.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of the parents.

Megan Mooney, a clinical psychologist also represented by the groups in the lawsuit, said the governor’s directive has caused “outright panic” among mental health professionals and families of transgender youth.

“Parents are terrified that (child protective services) is going to come and question their children, or take them away,” Mooney testified. “Mental health professionals are scared that we’re either violating our standards and professional codes of conduct, or in violation of the law.”

The governor’s directive and Paxton’s opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions on transgender people filed in statehouses nationwide.

 

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Texas judge blocks investigations of trans youth parents