Texas Judge Halts Transgender Child Abuse Investigations
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Hundreds protest a Trump administration announcement this week that rescinds an Obama-era order allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms matching their gender identities, at the Stonewall Inn on February 23, 2017 in New York City. Activists and members of the transgender community gathered outside the historic LGTB bar to denounce the new policy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A Texas judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order to block the state from investigating two families with children who are claimed to be transgender.

Travis County District Court Judge Jan Soifer agreed with the parents of the kids that the families face immediate harm from the investigations.

Also during the hearing, the state’s attorney revealed that the state has closed the child abuse case into one of the families, the Briggles.

The Briggles were one of at least nine families under state investigation for allowing their child to receive medical treatment that affirmed the child’s preferred gender, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

Back in February, Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service to investigate instances of Texas children being subjected to “abusive gender-transitioning procedures.” The directive came after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a non-binding legal opinion stating that certain gender-transitioning procedures for minors constitute child abuse under Texas law.

“There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted,” Paxton said. “The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”

The Briggles, along with two other families, had sued to block the child abuse investigations the state opened against them. That lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Travis County. They are the only family not filing under a pseudonym. The other families are going by the names ‘Roe’ and ‘Voe’ in the lawsuit.

All three families have children they allowed to transition from female to male-appearing.

In the lawsuit, the Voes said their child attempted suicide, consuming a bottle of aspirin, the day the governor’s order came down. The Voes later sought help from a psychiatric hospital for their child, they said.

“Giving hormones or pubertal blockers can constitute child abuse,” Assistant Attorney General Courtney Corbello said during Friday’s hearing.

“Is that true when the treatment is considered standard protocol and supported by every major medical organization in the United States?” the judge retorted.

Last month, Amber Briggle accused the governor of playing election politics with the investigation into her family.

“This has been political since day one,” she told The Dallas Morning News. “They’re not going to close [our case] unless they’re forced to by the courts.”

The Briggles were recently treated to a home-cooked Mother’s Day dinner by Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott for Texas governor. The Democratic candidate came to the house with groceries to make burgers, broccoli, and potatoes.

The temporary restraining order granted Friday to the families applies to all members of LGBT advocacy group PFLAG, according to the families’ attorneys. PFLAG has more than 600 members in Texas. Lambda Legal, as well as the ACLU of Texas, are representing the families.

“Every one of these children and every one of these parents have experienced the fear, have experienced the harm,” Lambda Legal attorney Paul Castillo said at the hearing.

It’s not clear yet if Texas will fight the order.

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