Texas Has Already Begun Investigating Parents of Trans Kids for Child Abuse—and They're Targeting a Gov Employee
Conservative attacks on transgender children and their parents escalated recently, when Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas issued a directive to the state's Department of Family and Protective Services, urging them to investigate the parents of transgender children for child abuse.
The letter instructed the department to conduct a "prompt and thorough investigation” into any instances of children undergoing “elective procedures for gender transitioning," citing a recent opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and confirmation surgery constitute child abuse.
The conservative hysteria surrounding gender confirmation procedures for transgender youth has been rife with disinformation. Though gender confirmation surgery is only available to people over 18 in the United States, conservatives falsely claim that young children are undergoing these procedures. While puberty blockers are reversible and often used by cisgender children as well, these conservative politicians and media personalities erroneously insist they do irreparable harm.
But under Abbott's new directive, these investigations into the families of trans children have already begun, and one is being conducted on an employee of the Department of Family and Protective Services—the very institution Abbott urged to conduct the investigations in the first place.
J. David Goodman of the New York Times' Houston bureau reported that the employee—the mother of a 16 year old transgender child—has been visited by investigators and put on leave. The state is demanding her child's medical records, though the family is refusing to divulge them.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and Lambda Legal have since filed a complaint in state court to stop the investigation.
The employee, who is not named and is using a pseudonym for her daughter, wrote:
“We are terrified for Mary’s health and well-being, and for our family. I feel betrayed by my state and the agency for whom I work.”
Thankfully, a judge has temporarily halted the investigation, pending a hearing on March 11 that will decide if a broader injunction is necessary.
The inquiry has generated heavy backlash on social media.
We rushed to court this morning to try to stop this. Families across Texas are being investigated and care is being halted. It is a disaster. They are trying to stop kids from being trans - but you can't make us not trans you can only make us not alive. https://t.co/ksuI8whjV4
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 1, 2022
I’ve been covering trans rights since HB2 and this is by far the worst development against trans people I’ve seen in that time. Worse than the bathroom bills, worse than the military ban.
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) March 1, 2022
Evil is not an abstract concept.
Evil is trying to tear children from their parents, simply because their parents see them, love them, want them to be whole and fully themselves. https://t.co/tO6DES53eG
— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) March 1, 2022
So much rage. Those who support this horror are too wicked to realize that they could be next: https://t.co/em77eEDQlr
— Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (@Ebonyteach) March 1, 2022
These loathsome, hideous monsters. https://t.co/gVyKVktO5E
— Daniel Summers, MD (@WFKARS) March 1, 2022
Abbott was especially criticized for issuing the directive in the first place.
Greg Abbott is using his office to torment transgender children and prosecute their parents.
These aren’t the actions of a ‘small government conservative’—they’re the actions of a power-hungry and morally-bankrupt politician using his office to abuse children. https://t.co/dxxV4z2dwZ
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) March 1, 2022
Greg Abbott has criminalized the existence of trans children. This is a human rights disaster that belongs in dictatorships, not a democracy, not even a teetering one. https://t.co/ypqXynAJRs
— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) March 1, 2022
This is garbage. Hey @GregAbbott_TX ...you're a garbage person. https://t.co/ium3Z1PqNY
— Josh (@jdflippintees) March 1, 2022
Five district attorneys in the state have refused to comply with the order.