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Texas court suspends investigations of parents of transgender minors

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LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student athletes on the first day of the 87th Legislature's third special session on September 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas./AFP
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Mar 12, 2022 - 10:29 AM

WASHINGTON — A Texas judge on Friday blocked investigations into the parents of transgender minors, halting for the time being a controversial directive by the southern US state’s governor.

“Victory,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Texas said on Twitter.

“A judge has blocked Gov. Greg Abbott and TexasDFPS’s unlawful actions targeting essential medical care for transgender youth,” it added, referring to the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services.

Judge Amy Clark ruled Abbott’s directive was unconstitutional, saying transgender minors and their parents would suffer “imminent and irreparable injury” if the directive was not halted, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Abbott issued the directive late last month to the DFPS to investigate instances of minors receiving gender-affirming medication and “sex change procedures,” which he argued “constitute child abuse under existing Texas law.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said he would appeal the ruling on Friday.

“Democrat judge tries to halt legal and necessary investigations into those trying to abuse our kids through ‘trans’ surgeries and prescription drugs,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I’m appealing. I’ll win this fight to protect our Texas children.”

The ACLU and Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ rights organization, had already managed to suspend a probe into the parents of a 16-year-old transgender girl in early March, filing a lawsuit on behalf of the mother.

Shortly after Abbott’s directive, the mother had been suspended by her employer, the DFPS, and visited by a state investigator who sought to learn whether her child was “currently transitioning from male to female,” court documents said.

US President Joe Biden has condemned Abbott for what he called a “cynical and dangerous campaign targeting transgender children and their parents.”

Gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, much like participation by transgender athletes in sports competitions or the use of toilets according to their gender identity, is the subject of extensive debate in the United States, where many conservative states have moved to adopt restrictive regulations.

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