Judge blocks Texas from investigating trans youth families

A Texas judge on Friday temporarily barred the state from investigating families of transgender children who have received gender-affirming medical care, a move in the state to label such treatment as child abuse. There is a new obstacle.

A temporary restraining order issued by Judge Jan Soifer halts investigations against the three families who sued, and blocks any further investigations against members of the LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG Inc. The group has over 600 members in Texas.

The ruling comes nearly a month after the Texas Supreme Court allowed the state to investigate the parents of transgender youth for child abuse, while ruling in favor of a family that had been involved in child abuse following an order from Republican Gov. The first contact was made by the welfare officers.

The latest challenge was brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union.

In March, a judge stayed that order after a trial brought by a 16-year-old girl whose family said it was under investigation. In May the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the lower court had overstepped its authority by blocking all further investigations.

That lawsuit marked the first reports of parents following Abbott’s directive and the first non-binding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton to label certain gender-affirming treatments as “child abuse.” The Texas Department of Family and Protective Service said it had launched nine investigations following instructions and opinions.

Abbott’s directive and the attorney general’s opinion go against the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed sanctions filed at the Statehouse nationwide.

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