Texas appeals court order blocking an investigation into the parents of trans teen


Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has appealed a judge’s order that blocked the state from investigating the parents of a 16-year-old transgender girl for providing her with gender-affirming medical care.


Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has appealed a temporary order, which was put in place last week, preventing the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating a family seeking gender-affirming care for their trans daughter, the Associated Press reported. 


The investigation into the parents, who are identified as Jane Doe and John Doe, respectively, began when Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote to the DFPS, comparing gender-affirming care for trans youth to “child abuse” and ordering the child welfare agency to investigate parents who allow their children to undergo such procedures.  

The directive came just one day after Paxton, who like Abbott, is also a Republican, issued a nonbinding legal opinion that such procedures are a violation of existing Texas state law.


On 2 March, District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued the order halting an investigation by the DFPS, reasoning that the parents and the 16-year-old teen girl “face the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”


However, in response to the judge’s decision, Paxton has now filed an appeal to void the temporary order. Due to the sudden filing, Judge Meachum’s scheduled hearing on 11 March, to decide whether to issue a broader order blocking other such investigations, has also been postponed.


Deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, Chase Strangio, called the appeal a way of “doubling down on their cruelty.” 

“Our clients and now families across the state are being targeted for the first time for simply continuing to provide the same medically necessary care to their children, as they have for years,” Strangio said in a statement.


The DFPS told Reuters on Tuesday March 1 that the agency had, at that time, opened at least three child welfare inquiries subject to the directive from Abbott ordering investigations of parents whose children undergo gender-affirming procedures. 


Five Texas district attorneys publicly pushed back on Gov. Abbott’s directive in which he called gender-transitioning and affirming procedures “child abuse”, calling the directive “un-American.”

“We are deeply disturbed by Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton’s cruel directives treating transgender children’s access to life-saving, gender-affirming care as “child abuse,”” they said in a joint Twitter post. 

“We also want to be clear: we will enforce the Constitution and will not irrationally and unjustifiably interfere with the medical decisions made between children, their parents and their medical physicians.”