Parents of trans kids share cruel reality of Texas ‘child abuse’ investigations in new court filing

Texas court rules child abuse investigations can go ahead for families seeking gender-affirming care for trans children

Two Texas mothers have shared their experiences of “child abuse” investigations ordered by governor Greg Abbott.

Two mothers who were open to helping their trans kids access gender-affirming care have come forward to share their experience in a new court filing.

According to the files, one of the cases saw a 13-year-old trans teen pulled out of class and interrogated by state officials. 

The 13-year-old was suffering from depression and had attempted suicide, according to court files.

Being interrogated led the teen to have anxiety attacks and miss classes, which disrupted his education and hard-won improvements to his mental health. 

His mother wrote: “This is extremely upsetting given he has been doing so well in school this year, both socially and in his classes.” 

In the second case, Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) officials reportedly launched an investigation into a 14-year-old student who was socially transitioning. 

The student had asked to be referred to with they/them pronouns and was seeing a psychiatrist but not receiving any physical care, newspaper Austin American-Statesman reported. 

Officials reportedly demanded that their mother show “third party” proof that the teen was “well-adjusted”.

His mother wrote: “These requests come six months after confirmation my child is not receiving medical care and independent confirmation by one of [there] teachers that they were doing well.” 

Texas ‘child abuse’ investigations faces legal challenges

In February, state attorney general Ken Paxton claimed gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth was “child abuse”.

This opinion promoted governor Greg Abbott to order state officials to investigate families and doctors providing gender-affirming care for trans youths.

In March, DFPS confirmed it had opened nine “child abuse” investigations into the families of trans youths in the state.

A temporary statewide injunction barred the investigations but was overturned by the Texas Supreme Court, meaning families can be investigated once more.

In June, a judge granted a temporary restraining order, protecting three plaintiff families and roughly 600 PFLAG members in Texas from investigations.

And on 8 July, Travis County judge Amy Clark Meachum barred the DFPS from investigating two families identified under pseudonyms Roe and Voe.

Meachum ruled that the investigations are “gross invasions of privacy in home and the school” and intrusive of parent’s ability to make decisions. 

Meachum added that the investigations disrupted “medically necessary care for the parents’ adolescent children”,  and a temporary injunction was set. 

The latest mothers’ affidavits have been gathered and submitted to Meachum in the hope of widening the injunction to protect more families from this investigation. 

In response to the lawsuit, Paxton’s office has tried to convince an appeals court to overturn the injunctions on grounds that the parents lack standing to sue. 

His lawyers have argued the families don’t have a standing chance to sue because they complained of potential, not actual, harm.

The argument adds that no transgender children have been removed from home and placed into foster care, and no parents have been placed on the state’s child abuse register.

It comes after Paxton’s office put a memo out that warned “mandatory reporters” such as teachers and social workers face potential prosecution if they don’t alert the DFPS about trans youths.