A week after being directed by Governor Greg Abbott to investigate parents of transgender youth for child abuse, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has already begun. The first case is one of their own employees. Shortly after being placed on administrative leave, State Investigators showed up at her door.
Their purpose? Her daughter’s medical records. Their reason? She is ‘suspected’ of giving her child gender-affirming treatment.
Not proven. Not confirmed. Simply suspected. And now the fate of her job — and her family — hangs on that suspicion.
Using a pseudonym to protect her 16-year old’s privacy, the mother had this to say:
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 for.
The family refused to hand over the records and went to the ACLU instead. The ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal asked a state court to block the order. Abbott, DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters, and DFPS are named as defendants. For violating the rights of the child, her parents and for violation of the Texas Administration Procedures Act.
Dr. Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist is also a plaintiff in the suit. Saying she cannot comply with the mandatory requirement without betraying her ‘ethical obligation’. Or without harming her clients.
Medical professionals and organizations across the country are in agreement that gender-affirming treatment is not only safe but medically necessary.
Harvard and the Fenway institute published a study showing that transgender youth were less likely to have suicidal thoughts when access to puberty blockers was available. Dr. Jack Turban participated in that study. His statement:
Despite fear mongering, these are safe medications that doctors have been using for decades for cisgender children who go through puberty too early.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Medical Association, along with 9 other health and counseling organizations, signed on to an official statement condemning anti-transgender legislation.
But we all know that Abbott’s directive isn’t about transgender children’s well-being. We know it. They know it.
Paul Castillo, Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal, knows it. He said:
For Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton, it seems cruelty is the point.
Pro-LGBTQ groups across the state have called out Abbott and Paxton, not just on the directive, but on the timing. One week before the state’s primary election. With seven challengers, it was speculated that Abbott would not receive the 50% of the vote he needed to avoid a run-off.
Emmett Shelling, Executive Director of Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) doesn’t believe this was anything more than a political play to gin up the GOP base. He addressed the Governor and state AG directly.
Our youth, our communities, will not be used as political props. We will not allow for these continued efforts to restrict access to life saving care and criminalize families based on patently false information. To Attorney General Paxton and Governor Abbott we will not continue to play a sadistic role in your political theater.
A ruling on the legality can come as soon as Wednesday of next week. While Paxton’s opinion is not considered to be legally binding, just the directive itself has been enough to scare some healthcare providers into halting gender-affirming treatment. Leaving transitioning teens without access to the drugs they were already taking. And sending those who haven’t yet begun, back in the closet. Forced to hide their true selves for fear of being taken away from their homes. With this in mind, it seems Paul Castillo was right. Cruelty is the point.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick