Texas judge blocks Attorney General’s bid for info on trans kids under gender-affirmation care

A Texas judge has temporarily blocked the Attorney General’s request for information on trans kids undergoing gender-affirmation treatment.

Travis County District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel made the ruling on 2 March after AG Ken Paxton, a Republican, requested “documents and communications” from an LGBTQ+ advocacy group about trans minors under gender-affirmation care.

The PFLAG National challenged Paxton’s office in court to prevent him from collecting the information, which they called a “gross invasion” of privacy. 

Judge Hexsel said that handing over such information would harm the organisation and its members in several ways, and was a violation of their freedom of speech, association and protection from unreasonable searches.

A hearing was scheduled for 25 March to allow Paxton’s office to make a case for why this temporary order should not be maintained.

Last month, Paxton’s office requested the documents from PFLAG CEO Brian Bond’s statement to court last year. The statement explained that the organisation was creating contingency plans after the state imposed a ban on gender-affirmation treatment for minors.

Paxton’s office said in a statement on 29 February that the information is relevant to investigations for medical providers who might be committing insurance fraud to continue to provide such treatment.

The American Civil Liberties Union, who is representing PFLAG in court, said it is now seeking a permanent block on Paxton’s request “so that PFLAG can continue supporting its Texas members with transgender youth in doing what all loving parents do: supporting and caring for their children”.

A ban on gender-affirmation care for children went into effect on 1 September in the state after previously being temporarily blocked by the same judge at the state’s Supreme Court.

The ban stops transgender youth from accessing puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy after the Attorney General’s office filed to block the judge’s temporary injunction against Senate Bill 14.

The judge wrote that the bill “interferes with Texas families’ private decisions and strips Texas parents…of the right to seek, direct, and provide medical care for their children”. 

The AG’s office filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court at the time, which automatically paused the injunction and allowed the law to go into effect at the start of September.

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