Texas judge blocks ‘child abuse’ investigations into 600 supportive families of trans kids

An activist raises a placard saying "protect trans kids" during a protest.

A judge in Texas has expanded an injunction to prevent around 600 families with trans children being investigated for “child abuse” over gender-affirming care. 

Travis County judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a further temporary injunction on Friday (16 September), to block the state from investigating members of LGBTQ+ support group PFLAG Inc over medical care. 

According to the organisation’s website, its network includes 325,000 members and supporters, with roughly 600 members based in Texas. 

The latest order also bans the state from investigating the family of a trans teen who had sued the state, although the family said they had seen the investigation against them dropped since filing the lawsuit, ABC News reported. 

Meachum wrote that without the order, the families would “suffer probable, imminent, and irreparable injury in the interim”.

The latest challenge was brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the families of three teenage boys — two 16-year-olds and a 14-year-old — and PFLAG.  

Texas ACLU policy and advocacy strategist, Adri Perez, said: “Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: state leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth.”

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) confirmed to ABC News that as of last week it had opened 12 investigations since state governor Greg Abbott’s directive was issued. 

It confirmed four investigations remain open and no youths have been removed from their homes as a result of the investigations.

This month, two Texas mothers of trans kids shared their experiences of “child abuse” investigations ordered by Abbott in late February.

At the time, Abbott ordered the state’s DFPS to investigate families and doctors for “child abuse” for pursing or providing gender-affirming care for trans youth.

On 8 July, Meachum issued an injunction that blocked the DFPS from investigating two families who had sued the state.

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

In March, amid national and global disgust, a district court issued a temporary statewide injunction halting the investigation, but this was later overturned by the Texas Supreme Court, meaning families could be investigated again. 

That same month the DFPS confirmed it had opened nine “child abuse” investigations.