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Texas judge hears case on state's transgender care investigations

The state has opened nine investigations following Gov. Gregg Abbott’s directive that reports of trans youth receiving gender-affirming care be investigated as child abuse.
Adri Perez, ACLU of Texas Policy and Advocacy Strategist, center, and other LGBTQ leaders speak outside the Travis County courthouse where a hearing was held to stop the child welfare investigations targeting supportive families of transgender children on
Adri Perez, ACLU of Texas Policy and Advocacy Strategist, center, and other LGBTQ leaders speak outside the Travis County courthouse where a hearing was being held on child welfare investigations targeting families supportive of transgender children on March 2 in Austin.Erich Schlegel / AP Images for Human Rights Campaign
/ Source: Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas judge is holding a hearing Friday on whether to prevent state officials from investigating reports of transgender youth receiving gender-affirming care as child abuse.

The hearing comes the same day that dozens of major companies — including Apple, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Meta and Microsoft — criticized the Texas directive in a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News.

“The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies,” read the ad, which used the headline “DISCRIMINATION IS BAD FOR BUSINESS.”

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum will hear Friday from attorneys for the state and the parents of a 16-year-old girl who were being investigated by the Department of Family and Protective Services over such care.

Meachum last week blocked the investigation and is considering whether to block similar investigations of other families. The parents sued over the investigation and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's directive that DFPS investigate reports of transgender youth receiving gender-confirming care as child abuse.

The lawsuit marked the first report of parents being investigated following Abbott’s directive and an earlier nonbinding legal opinion by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling certain gender-confirming treatments as “child abuse.” DFPS said it has opened nine investigations since Abbott's directive and Paxton's opinion.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of the parents.

The groups also represent a clinical psychologist who has said the governor’s directive is forcing her to choose between reporting clients to the state or losing her license and other penalties.

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.

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