Families sue Texas over child abuse investigations for teen hormone therapy, alleged attempted suicide

The families of three teenagers in Texas have filed suit against the state in response to investigations of child abuse as a result of medical treatments they allegedly administered to their children seeking to transition from one gender to the other.

The lawsuit also requests that a Texas judge halt any future investigations of any Texas members of the LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG Inc., Daily Mail reported.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled last month that authorities could investigate parents of transgender youth for alleged child abuse following an order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. One mother said her teenage son attempted suicide the day Abbott signed the directive in February. The outpatient facility that treated the boy reported the family for suspicion of child abuse when they learned the parents had been giving the boy hormone therapy.

The latest legal challenge was brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union and seeks broader action against the investigations. “If it takes a court ruling to ensure that the law protects families who lead with love in support of transgender Texans, so be it,” Brian K. Bond, executive director of PFLAG National, said in a statement.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has said it has opened nine investigations following the directive and the subsequent upholding by the court, the Daily Mail reported.

Applying a pseudonym to her 16-year-old son, the mother of “Antonio Voe” said in the lawsuit, “Antonio said that the political environment, including Abbott’s Letter, and being misgendered in school, led him to take these actions,” she stated in reference to his alleged suicide attempt.

“I am offended and hurt that my state government wants to make it unlawful for trans youth like me to be ourselves, and that DFPS, the governor and the attorney general are willing to persecute families like mine simply for loving and supporting their trans children,” another teen said in the court filing.

Both Arkansas and Tennessee have passed similar measures prohibiting gender-confirming treatments for minors. The Arkansas law is currently in appeal status after a judge blocked its implementation.

As reported in May, Arkansas’s “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act, prohibits physicians from performing gender transition procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors before puberty. Transgender surgeries include vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, breast implants, and facial surgeries.

Tennessee’s bill does not go so far as Arkansas’s bill does, however. SB0126 increases training requirements for “those unlicensed persons employed by licensed agencies to assist children and youth with the self-administration of medication in a group home setting without being subject to nursing licensure and other nursing requirements.”

The bill includes an amendment prohibiting a “healthcare prescriber from prescribing a course of treatment that involves hormone treatment for gender dysphoric or gender incongruent prepubertal minors,” but notes that “a healthcare prescriber may prescribe a course of treatment that involves hormone treatments for prepubertal minors for diagnoses of growth deficiencies or other diagnoses unrelated to gender dysphoria or gender incongruency.”

Spokespersons for Gov. Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Mail.

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