Resources for trans Texans and their families
Please visit our coalition website www.txtranskids.org for legal help, the latest updates, and how to plug in to fight against this cruel directive.
What to know about Attorney General Paxton’s non-binding opinion and Governor Abbott’s Directive to DFPS to classify life-saving, medically necessary, best-practice care for transgender youth as “child abuse.”
On February 18th, in the middle of early voting for the Texas primary elections, Attorney General Ken Paxton released a non-binding opinion grossly mischaracterizing medically necessary, best-practice healthcare for transgender children as child abuse. Shortly after, Governor Abbott sent a letter to the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) directing them to enforce Paxton’s opinion.
We stand with every major, credible medical association in supporting age-appropriate, best-practice standards of healthcare for transgender youth and adults. Misconstruing the law and amplifying junk science to attack innocent children and their parents is cruel and beneath contempt. We’ve already started seeing the devastating impact of these actions on transgender youth and their families.
Download a shareable Resource Page here.
- Neither the AG nor the Governor can change the law. The AG opinion and the Governor’s letter are not legally binding.
- No court in Texas, or anywhere in the country, has ever found that gender affirming care can be considered child abuse.
- Texas law protects families from false reports of child abuse.
- This is political theater on the eve of primary elections from politicians that spent 10 months attacking transgender youth last year.
- Fear mongering about the lives of transgender people fuels bias and discrimination – putting transgender kids and adults at risk.
Where things stand
- Courts Update: On March 11, a state judge blocked DFPS from investigating loving families for providing medically necessary, best-practice healthcare until the “end of any trial.” According to the judge this includes, “[her] court, and potentially the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Texas.” On March 25, AG Paxton appealed that decision to the Texas Supreme Court where the justices will decide whether or not the pause in CPS investigations will hold as the original suit makes its way through the courts.
- Policy Update: On March 11, over 80 people testified against the Governor’s directive at the first public meeting of DFPS since the directive was issued. Volunteers signed up to read testimony from transgender youth and guardians who could not be there due to the very real safety concerns. You can view a press conference during the meeting here.
- On March 2, the White House issued a statement from the President, saying in part, “In the United States of America, we respect the rights and dignity of all families. Transgender children bring fulfillment to their parents, joy to their friends, and are made in the image of God. Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized.” The statement also linked to an Health and Human Services release outlining actions the department is taking including:
- releasing guidance to state child welfare agencies through an Information Memorandum that makes clear that states should use their child welfare systems to advance safety and support for LGBTQI+ youth, which importantly can include access to gender affirming care;
- releasing guidance on patient privacy, clarifying that, despite the Texas government’s threat, health care providers are not required to disclose private patient information related to gender affirming care;
- issuing guidance making clear that denials of health care based on gender identity are illegal, as is restricting doctors and health care providers from providing care because of a patient’s gender identity;
- exploring all options to protect kids, their parents, caretakers and families; and
- ensuring that families and health care providers in Texas are aware of all the resources available to them if they face discrimination as a result of this discriminatory gubernatorial order.
What do do if DFPS contacts you
- If CPS reaches out to you, try to delay the initial conversation as much as possible while still being cooperative. Even if an intake specialist shows up at your door, you don’t have to let them in and can schedule for a later date. This will give you time to get legal representation and make sure they’re in the initial call.
- Immediately contact Lambda Legal for legal help and Equality Texas so that we can provide any additional resources you may need. You can also report your experience to the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
- Do not hand over your safe folder or sign any documents authorizing the release of private information. Do not talk about the healthcare your child is receiving.
- Make sure your child knows that they do not have to speak to anyone from CPS, even if they’re at school.
- These tips can be shared through our Paxton Opinion Resource One-Pager.
Disclaimer: No part of this webpage constitutes legal advice. Please reach out to Lambda Legal if you need legal counsel.