Mother of adult trans man being investigated for ‘child abuse’ in Texas

People holding up signs that read "Trans rights are civil rights are human rights"

Texas officials have opened nine “child abuse” investigations into the supportive families of trans youth in the state. 

The state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) confirmed it is pursuing the investigations into families seeking gender-affirming care for their children, according to a statement given to CNN

It follows Republican governor Greg Abbott telling state agencies to investigate such families for child abuse last month, a move which has drawn global condemnation.

One such case has already been blocked by the courts – with Texas losing an appeal against the decision on Wednesday (9 March). A judge will rule on Friday (11 March) whether to enact a statewide injunction against the order.

The ACLU has publicly argued that Abbott’s order has “no legal effect”.

One parent told Xtra that she is being investigated by DFPS, despite her son now being aged 18 – the age Texas considers a person to be an adult.

The mum, who works as a social worker, described how her son came out as trans just before his 13th birthday. She has supported him since.

She claimed a DFPS agent had knocked on her door last week and told her the agency has a right to “investigate the ‘abuse’ that happened prior to my son turning 18”. They reportedly told her she is a “danger to [her] clients”. 

The mum told Xtra that her ex-husband did not support her son’s identity and that he repeatedly filed false child abuse claims against her in the past for affirming her son’s identity. 

As such, she said there were nine closed cases attached to her name. She recalled how DFPS told her attorney that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and the closed cases meant she’d “been hiding something for years”. 

“I can barely eat, I’m barely sleeping,” she said. “I know I haven’t done anything, but my anxiety’s off the charts.”

While Abbott’s order is already hurting families, it’s emerged that the situation has been worsened by the flippant nature in which the governor issued it.

A union worker representing child protective services workers in Texas has said that there has been “no meaningful communication” about what the order means in practice.

“Real harm is already being done to families and children living with the fear of not knowing what to expect,” Myko Gedutis, organising coordinator for the Texas State Employees Union, told the Dallas Morning News.

He added that many CPS workers felt that asking them to report the parents of trans children violated their professional standards and ethics. Gedutis called on Texas lawmakers to abandon the directive “immediately and publicly”. 

Shortly after Abbott issued his directive, the state of Texas was sued by an unnamed DFPS employee who was put on leave and investigated for having a trans daughter receiving gender-affirming medical care. 

A court blocked the investigation into the family despite attempts by attorney general Ken Paxton to keep the case open