(NEXSTAR) – Less than one week after a directive from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to pursue child abuse investigations for parents who help their transgender children get gender-affirming care, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is doing it.
On Tuesday, the parents of a 16 year-old trans child filed a lawsuit after they were informed they were being investigated by DFPS last week. Megan A. Mooney, a Houston-based licensed psychologist, also filed the suit.
“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.”
The parents remain anonymous to preserve the child’s privacy. In the lawsuit, however, the child’s mother, an employee of Texas DFPS, says she was placed on leave because her daughter is trans and requires medical treatment.
The family says they learned about the investigation on Feb. 24 and that a Child Protective Services investigator visited their home the next day. The parents say the investigator tried getting them to sign for the release of their child’s medical records, but they refused.
According to the lawsuit, “the CPS investigator disclosed that the sole allegation against [the parents] is that they have a transgender daughter and that their daughter may have been provided with medically necessary gender-affirming health care and is ‘currently transitioning from male to female.’”
The family’s attorneys explain that should the investigation rule the parents have abused their child, not only would the mother lose her job but they would be automatically be placed on a child abuse registry and face legal repercussions.
Moreover, the parents say they worry the emotional and physical consequences their child would face if her medical care is suspended.
Defendants named in Doe v. Abbott are Abbott, DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters and the Texas DFPS. The department did not immediately respond to comment from The New York Times. Gov. Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to comment on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union said it would also be suing to stop Texas DFPS from pursuing “lawless and dangerous new directives.”