Brian Klosterboer (’18), Staff Attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Texas, and Kath Xu (’20), current Fellow with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, secured a temporary restraining order and an injunction with their Petition challenging Texas Governor Abbott’s letter instructing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate families and healthcare providers in relation to gender-affirming medical care for trans youth after classifying certain medical treatments as “child abuse.” Their Petition states: “The Defendants have, without Constitutional or statutory authority, acted to create a new definition of ‘child abuse’ that singles out a subset of loving parents for scrutiny, investigation, and potential family separation. Their actions caused terror and anxiety among transgender youth and their families across the Lone Star State and singled out transgender youth and their families for discrimination and harassment. What is more, the Governor’s, Attorney General’s, and Commissioner’s actions threaten to endanger the health and wellbeing of transgender youth in Texas by depriving them of medically necessary care, while communicating that transgender people and their families are not welcome in Texas.”
After a district court judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking a DFPS investigation of Plaintiffs, Brian stated: “We appreciate the relief granted to our clients, but this should never have happened and is unfathomably cruel. Families should not have to fear being separated because they are providing the best possible health care for their children. The elected leaders and agencies of this state should not play politics with people’s lives. We will do all that’s possible to stop these abuses of power and ensure transgender young people can receive medically recommended treatment.” (“Texas Court Partially Blocks Gov. Abbott’s Anti-Trans Directive To Investigate Families,” Mar. 2, ACLU of Texas).
Tara Grigg Green (’15), Co-Founder and Executive Director of Foster Care Advocacy Center, issued a response to Governor Abbott’s directive citing the particular dangers for trans youth in foster care, where the state is parent and DFPS acts as medical consenter. Tara also pledged her organization’s commitment to pro bono representation of parents investigated by DFPS for providing gender-affirming care for their children. “Child abuse does not look like care and compassion; it does not look like supporting and affirming a child; it does not look like making hard decisions for your child when you know you will face public scorn. . . . Child abuse looks like what the State of Texas is doing to trans children by removing their medical care, their dignity, and the safety and security of their family. . . . FCAC will not stand idly by while this happens. . . . We have a designated attorney and legal support staff ready to defend and fight for these parents.”