Metro Weekly

Court Blocks Texas from Investigating Trans Kids’ Families

A Texas judge blocked the Texas Attorney General's office from pursuing investigations of parents of transgender children.

Photo: Ruletkka, via Dreamstime

A Texas court blocked Republican State Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office from demanding information and documents from PFLAG that might reveal the identities of families seeking out gender-affirming care for transgender children.

Last week, Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a temporary injunction blocking Paxton’s office from demanding the information, writing that “immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to PFLAG and its members” if Paxton’s office is able to obtain information about the group’s members, which number close to 600 in Texas alone. 

Under the terms of the restraining order, Paxton’s office may not attempt to stop PFLAG from operating for refusing to hand over documents and identifying information about its members, especially those who may have reached out to the national pro-LGBTQ advocacy group  to determine how to seek gender-affirming care out of state.

Paxton’s office may also not demand information from PFLAG revealing the identities of its members, officers, employees, lawyers, volunteers, or donors.

Paxton’s office claimed their demand for PFLAG documents, issued in early February, was part of an effort to investigate whether medical providers were violating Texas’s law banning them from prescribing gender-affirming treatments like puberty blockers and hormones to minors.

PFLAG filed a lawsuit last month asking for a temporary restraining order and relief to protect the identities and privacy of its members. 

In response to the lawsuit, Paxton’s office accused PFLAG of attempting to conceal information about medical providers who might be “committing insurance fraud” by circumventing Texas’s ban, reports NBC News.

On March 1, PFLAG, along with Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Transgender Law Center, obtained a temporary restraining order blocking Paxton’s office from retaliating against the organization. That order remained in effect until March 25, when Meachum issued her injunction, using the same legal rationale.

Meachum also noted in her order that she believed there is “a substantial likelihood” that PFLAG will prevail in its lawsuit, alleging that demanding the information violates its members’ constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of association.

That case is set to go to trial on June 10.

PFLAG is currently part of two other active lawsuits challenging Texas officials’ attempt to enforce the state’s gender-affirming care ban.

The first case challenges the ban outright, alleging that it discriminates against transgender minors by preventing them from identifying as themselves.

The second case challenges a rule, adopted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, mandating investigations into parents believed to have allowed their minor children to access transition-related health services.

Advocates for families of transgender children celebrated the temporary injunction.

“Texas PFLAG families are grateful that the court has once again recognized the harm caused by investigating parents for affirming and loving their transgender kids,” Brian K. Bond, the CEO of PFLAG, said in a statement.

“This decision is another much-needed victory for trans youth and those who love and support them,” added Ash Hall, an LGBTQIA+ policy and advocacy strategist with the ACLU of Texas.

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