Media Contact

Antonio Arellano, ACLU of Texas, 713-459-8212, [email protected]

February 23, 2022

HOUSTON — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion on Monday declaring gender-affirming medical care for transgender children to be child abuse. In response, Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) on Tuesday to investigate these practices.

Paxton’s opinion is not legally binding, and it remains up to the courts to interpret Texas laws and the Constitution. Moreover, DFPS cannot remove any child from their parents or guardians without a court order. No court here in Texas or anywhere in the country has ever found that gender-affirming care can be considered child abuse. The opinion released by Paxton cites highly partisan, outdated, and inaccurate information that ignores the consensus of every major medical association and the evidence-based and peer-reviewed standards of care.

Trans youth continue to be threatened in Texas by state leadership as part of a politically motivated misinformation campaign that harms children.

The following quote can be attributed to Adri Pérez (they/them), policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas:

“Gender-affirming care saved my life. Trans kids today deserve the same opportunity by receiving the highest standard of care, rooted in decades of scientific research. No partisan political attack can change that. Our state's leaders need to focus on helping our youth and all people in our state instead of falsely attacking parents and doctors who are lovingly advocating for their children with the medically necessary care. We will never stop fighting to protect trans kids and their families in Texas."

The following quote can be attributed to Brian Klosterboer (he/him), staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas:

“​​This opinion and letter have no legal effect and cannot change Texas law nor usurp the constitutional rights of Texas families. But they spread fear and misinformation and could spur false reporting of child abuse at a time when DFPS is already facing a crisis in our state’s foster care system.

“The law is clear that parents, guardians, and doctors can provide transgender youth with treatment in accordance with prevailing standards of care. Any parent or guardian who loves and supports their child and is taking them to a licensed healthcare provider is not engaging in child abuse.”