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Texas Court Expands Injunction Blocking State From Targeting Families of Trans Youth Who Are Members of PFLAG National

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September 16, 2022

The Travis County District Court issued a third injunction today blocking the State of Texas from implementing a directive targeting trans youth and their families across Texas. The directive ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary healthcare. The directive could have led to transgender youth being placed in foster care and their parents criminally charged with child abuse—just for following the advice of their physicians and mental health providers.

Today’s ruling in PFLAG v. Abbott covers all Texas families who are members of PFLAG National, a national LGBTQ+ organization with 17 chapters in Texas. It also covers Adam and Amber Briggle and their son, M.B. Earlier, the court had issued an injunction blocking DFPS from investigating two other plaintiff families in the PFLAG v. Abbott lawsuit who are anonymous for purposes of the lawsuit. These injunctions became necessary to protect Texas families after the statewide injunction against the directive issued in an earlier lawsuit, Doe v. Abbott, was put on hold during the State's appeal.

The ruling comes after the plaintiffs notified the court last week that DFPS was continuing intrusive investigations against PFLAG members, including by pulling a student out of class and questioning him at school about his medical history.

“Today, families of transgender kids in Texas who are members of PFLAG National find shelter from Gov. Abbott's unjust order,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “PFLAG, our chapters in Texas and around the country are sources of support and safety from government harm because every LGBTQ+ person deserves respect, dignity and the right to access the care they need when they need it.” 

“Again, the court has grasped the magnitude and breadth of the continued harm that Gov. Abbott’s directive and Attorney General Paxton’s opinion would have caused if DFPS was allowed to pursue its investigations,” said Nicholas “Guilly” Guillory, Tyrone Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal. “Families across Texas, since Gov. Abbott issued his directive, have lived in fear of the knock on the door. Even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Abbott could not compel DFPS to conduct investigations, many families remained under investigation. Parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here.”

“Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: State leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth,”  said Adri Pérez (they/them), of the ACLU of Texas. “We should trust doctors and every major medical association on how to support transgender youth. State leadership continues to attack parents for how they raise their kids — and all our plaintiffs are doing is providing unconditional love and support for children of all gender identities. We will never stop fighting for the rights, safety, and dignity of transgender Texans.” 

The lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, and the law firm of Baker Botts LLP.

Read more about the lawsuit here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/pflag-v-abbott. Read about the earlier lawsuit here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/doe-v-abbott

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Contact Info

Lambda Legal: Jonathan Adams, 646-752-3251; jadams@lambdalegal.org
ACLU of Texas: Matt Levin, media@aclutx.org
PFLAG National: Laura McGinnis, 202-725-7571; lmcginnis@pflag.org

 

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