The sinister reason why the Texas Attorney General is demanding LGBTQ+ group members’ names

Ken Paxton speaking during an address outside of US Congress.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has once again demanded the personal information of LGBTQ+ groups, this time targeting a queer rights organisation. So, how long has this been going on, and why is it going on at all?

Essentially: Paxton is trying to assert that, as the attorney general of Texas, he has the right to information about Texan parents who might seek to avoid the current state-level laws that prevent medical treatment for trans children, laws that have been fiercely opposed by kids, their parents and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.

According to a lawsuit filed by PFLAG National (the largest LGBTQ+ not-for-profit group in the US) the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed the demand on 9 February, requesting the names and addresses of activists.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday (28 February), attempts to block the OAG’s request, which PFLAG, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, described as unconstitutional and outrageous.

“This mean-spirited demand from the attorney general’s office is petty and invasive, which is why we want the court to put an end to it,” PFLAG National chief executive Brian K Bond said.

“PFLAG National, our chapters and our entire community will continue leading with love as we have for the [pasts] five decades, providing support, education and advocacy to ensure every LGBTQ+ person in Texas and beyond is safe, celebrated, empowered and loved.”

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Crucially, Paxton’s office demanded documents, communications and information related to any of the organisation’s work with families which have trans adolescents in any of the 18 chapters it operates in Texas.

Backed by the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center, the counter lawsuit argues that the attorney general’s office is acting “outside its authority” and attempting to subvert the discovery process in separate lawsuits challenging anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the state.

LGBTQ+ advocates rally together in support of trans rights as Republican lawmakers in Texas try to push back on the trans community and access to gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth in the state
Rights groups have teamed up to complain to the UN about Texas’s anti-LGBTQ+ bills. (Getty)

“The latest attempt to punish organisations for opposing government overreach sets a dangerous precedent for all Texans who advocate on any issue,” ACLU Texas attorney Brian Klosterboer said.

“PFLAG National is a beacon of hope for trans youth and their families in Texas. The organisation has repeatedly gone to court to protect the rights of parents and young people to make medical decisions based on evidence and science, rather than fear or politics.

“Transgender youth know who they are and will not be silenced, even when elected officials relentlessly target them for political gain.”

In 2022, Republican Ken Paxton made a similar move, demanding that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on department records in the past two years.

DPS spokesman Travis Considine said at the time that the data “neither exists nor could be accurately produced”.

Ken Paxton was sued in December, after his office demanded that Seattle Children’s Hospital send his office documents of under-18s originally from Texas who he believed had undergone gender-affirming treatment.

The hospital described the demand as an “unconstitutional” overreach.

Paxton is due in court in April to face felony securities fraud charges, almost nine years after he was first indicted. If convicted, he could be jailed for 99 years. He has pleaded guilty.