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Friday, April 12, 2024

Judge Blocks Texas Attorney General’s Demand for Transgender Minors’ Documents

A judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction on Friday, halting the state attorney general’s efforts to compel an L.G.B.T.Q. organization to surrender documents pertaining to transgender minors and their gender-affirming care. The move comes amid ongoing legal battles over the rights of transgender individuals in Texas and beyond.

Last year, Texas passed a law prohibiting medical care related to gender transition for minors. In response, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office initiated an investigation into potential violations of the ban. As part of this inquiry, the office demanded that PFLAG National, a nonprofit supporting families in accessing gender-affirming care for children, provide information on minors who may have received such treatments.

However, Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel of Travis County District Court intervened, granting an injunction against Paxton’s demands. PFLAG had swiftly filed a lawsuit to block the request, arguing that complying would cause irreparable harm to the organization. Judge Hexsel concurred, stating that the request would infringe on the group’s constitutional rights and subject its members to gross invasions of privacy.

In response to the judge’s decision, PFLAG’s legal team, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed gratitude, emphasizing the harm posed by the attorney general’s intrusive demands.

Paxton’s office did not immediately comment on the judge’s order, but previously, Paxton defended the relevance of the information sought from PFLAG, asserting that it was crucial to his investigation into alleged violations of the ban on gender-affirming care for minors. He reiterated his commitment to holding accountable any organization attempting to circumvent the law.

The ruling comes against the backdrop of ongoing legislative efforts targeting transgender rights across the country. Republican-led initiatives have resulted in the passage of numerous laws restricting these rights, including measures limiting bathroom use and participation in sports teams.

Texas stands as the largest among the 23 states that have banned gender-transition care for minors. The state’s law not only prohibits minors from accessing such treatments but also threatens to revoke the medical licenses of doctors providing such care and bans health insurance coverage for the treatments.

According to a report by the Williams Institute at U.C.L.A., Texas is home to approximately 30,000 transgender individuals aged 13 to 17.

Attorney General Paxton has made repeated attempts to obtain transgender patient records as part of his crackdown on perceived violations of state law. In addition to PFLAG, Paxton has investigated two children’s hospitals in Texas for records of patients receiving gender-affirming care and subpoenaed the Seattle Children’s Hospital for records of Texas patients receiving care there.

The debate over gender-affirming treatments for minors has sparked controversy among medical professionals. While some advocate for access to such care, citing recommendations from leading medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, others have raised concerns about the appropriateness of such treatments for minors.

PFLAG’s legal challenges against Texas’ bans on gender-affirming care for minors are ongoing, with the state’s Supreme Court allowing the ban to take effect temporarily pending the outcome of the litigation.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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