UPDATE: After four successful court rulings, the plaintiffs have blocked statewide the governor's directive and DFPS's investigations of families with transgender youth based solely on the health care they receive. The attorney general has filed emergency motions that are currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court, and the briefs and case updates are available here: https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=22-0229&coa=cossup
A family in Texas has had a child welfare investigator arrive at their home due to a directive from Gov. Greg Abbott stating that providing lifesaving medical care to adolescent transgender youth is child abuse. This family — an employee of DFPS with a transgender child, her husband, and their transgender teen — has sued Gov. Abbott and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Multiple families in Texas are under investigation and at risk of losing healthcare or being separated from their kids. Dr. Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist who works with transgender youth and their families, also joined the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who recently issued a directive stating that providing gender-affirming care should be considered a form of child abuse. The suit also names DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters and DFPS as defendants. The lawsuit includes claims that these recent directives were issued without proper authority, in violation of the Texas Administrative Procedures Act, the separation of powers requirements of the Texas Constitution, and the constitutional rights of transgender youth and their parents.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an employee of DFPS with a transgender child, her husband, and the teen herself. According to the complaint, an investigator for the state had already shown up at the family’s house. The family has filed the lawsuit anonymously. Dr. Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist who is considered a mandatory reporter under Texas law and cannot comply with the governor’s directive without harming her clients and violating her ethical obligations, is also a plaintiff in the suit.
While doctors and medical organizations have been providing gender-affirming care to youth, including transgender youth, for decades, it has increasingly become a target of attacks from state lawmakers. After Arkansas became the first state to pass a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth last year, a federal court blocked the law from being enforced. Dozens of states have proposed similar bill to what became law in Arkansas — including some like Alabama that have proposed criminal penalties for providing gender-affirming care to youth — but Texas is the only state saying providing this lifesaving care could lead to a child being removed from their family and placed in the foster care system.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Baker Botts LLP.