Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing a judge's ruling that prevents the state from investigating a transgender teenager's parents over gender-confirming care she received.
Paxton filed the appeal Thursday of the temporary order halting the investigation by the Department of Family and Protective Services into the parents of the 16-year-old girl.
The parents sued over the investigation and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's order last week that officials look into reports of such treatments as abuse. The lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott's directive and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Paxton labeling certain gender-confirmation treatments as "child abuse."
The appeal stays a hearing District Judge Amy Clark Meachum had scheduled for March 11 on whether to issue a broader temporary order blocking enforcement of Abbott's directive.
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"I think ultimately, she’ll rule specifically to this case for sure on whether or not the investigation can be ongoing because that’s what she’s been asked to do," Dallas-based attorney Eric Cedillo said. "She may, again, come out with a broader ruling maintaining hey, what the state is doing is unconstitutional and I’m going to put a block across the state from this happening."
Developments regarding transgender youth has deeply concerned North Texas mother, who asked us to only identify her by her first name. Violet is the mother of 6-year-old Isa.
"My daughter is trans. She was born a boy, and we socially transitioned her in October 2020. It’s been kind of a scary experience doing that," Violet said. "I've been doing my best to facilitate her experiences in daycare and in school and in public, with my family, by basically educating myself and educating people to help them get more accepting."
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Violet said Isa has identified herself as a girl since age 2. At first, Violet said she didn't think anything of it. Over the course of two years, Violet said her daughter began to demonstrate signs of gender dysphoria.
"When I affirmed her for the first time, like that day is seared in my memory forever because the look on her face when I affirmed her, it was like I had never seen her face before that," she recalled. "She smiled for the first time. Like, the anxiety melted from her face and whole body. I just didn't even know how much anxiety she had been experiencing."
Violet said they are in the process of leaving North Texas. After last year's bill over transgender student-athletes, she began thinking about the possible limitations her child could one day face along with the resources they may need as Isa grows up.
"I decided that actually before the news with Abbott and Paxton, so when I got that news I was like…okay…the writing is on the wall. This is what’s happening," she said. "They’re like forgetting that these are real human lives that their political decisions, because it’s an election year or whatever…they’re affecting people."
The governor's directive and Paxton's opinion go against the nation's largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, which have opposed Republican-backed restrictions on transgender people filed in statehouses nationwide.
Requests for comment to the Governor's office as well as Paxton's office were not returned Thursday. Ryan Kercher, an attorney with Paxton’s office, told Meachum during the hearing this week that the governor’s order and the earlier opinion don’t require the state to investigate every transgender child receiving gender-confirmation care.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday night condemned Abbott's directive and announced steps his administration was taking to protect transgender youth and their families in the state. According to our partners at the Dallas Morning News, the president encouraged Texans affected by the investigations to file federal civil rights complaints.