A judge has blocked Texas from investigating the families of transgender children who have received gender-affirming care for abuse, in a move that pushes back against the throttling of LGBTQ+ rights in the Republican state.
Judge Jan Soifer issued a temporary restraining order on Friday to halt investigations launched by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) against three families of transgender youth.
The restraining order also bans any similar investigations from being launched against the 600 members of the LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG Inc.
The three families had filed a lawsuit earlier this week challenging Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order that directed the DFPS to carry out child abuse investigations into parents and doctors who give gender-affirming care to transgender children.
Mr Abbott issued the controversial order in February based on an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton where he branded the gender-affirming care that is medically necessary for some transgender children as “child abuse”.
The state child welfare agency has opened at least nine investigations into the parents of transgender youth in the four months since the Republican governor issued the order.
Last month, the Texas Supreme Court cleared the way for the state to carry out the probes after a lower court had issued a temporary ban in March.
The lower court halted the investigations after a family of a 16-year-old girl sued the state.
In a unanimous ruling in May, the Supreme Court said that the lower court had overstepped its authority and did not have the power to block the probes.
The state’s highest court did however say that the governor’s directive was “nonbinding” and so the DFPS was not required to comply with it – but that they could do so.
Following the Supreme Court decision, the DFPS said in a statement that it would continue to carry out its investigations of families.
The state’s attempt to label medical care for transgender youth as child abuse has been widely condemned by both the medical community and LGBTQ+ groups across the country.
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