The 13-year-old Texas transgender student was investigated following a directive by the governor to investigate potential child abuse cases.
Texas is one of the leading conservative states amid a battle regarding LGBTQ+ rights, especially as it pertains to adolescents. Last February, the Lone Star state’s Republican Gov. Grebb Abbot directed state agencies to investigate parents believed to be giving their children gender-affirming care. Now, a new report amid a lawsuit looking to restrict this Texas transgender policy is fueling the debate over the topic even more.
Court documents obtained by The Washington Post report the story of a 13-year-old Texas transgender student who was left “shaken” after his experience being pulled from class to be probed by officials in a school office for nearly an hour. It was part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to state agencies to investigate potential child abuse cases against families of transgender minors. Allegedly, the extensive investigation dove deep into the student’s personal history.
The interview that pulled the Texas transgender student out of class was conducted inside of a conference room within his middle school by members of the Department of Family and Protective Services. His medical history was discussed, as was his diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The investigators also asked him to discuss his attempted suicide which had occurred years ago.
Suicide is a key factor in the case against giving gender-affirming care to minors. Many opposers point to the fact that suicide is greatly associated with children who have taken puberty blockers. Because of this, adversaries argue that gender-affirming care increases teen suicide thoughts among those like this Texas transgender child. But others argue that this correlation is misleading, as LGBTQ+ youth, in general, are more prone to struggle with suicidal thoughts, which many fear is due to stigmas discriminating against them.
The mother that offered this testimony depicting what happened to her Texas transgender child joins a growing lawsuit looking to block the state from adhering to the governor’s order to probe families of trans children. The lawsuit argues that Abbott’s decree holds no legal ground since it was based on the state attorney general’s opinion that giving minors gender-affirming care may constitute as child abuse. Therefore, the lawsuit states that the Gov. had no legal authority to require schools and health agencies to report potential cases.
Other than the legality of this mandate, the lawsuit seeks to prove something that LGBTQ+ activists have continuously lamented over the past few years as states push more restrictive legislation targeting Texas transgender students and those in other conservative states. The consensus to many is that these initiative place harmful targets on LGBTQ+ youth, furthering their risk of mental health struggles. This appears to be the case when the unnamed Texas transgender student was pulled from class for a probe that his mother argues left him distressed.
The lawsuit against Gov. Abbott and his initiative remains open and awaiting a ruling by the court. Texas is currently just one of the many red states caught up in legal battles over their efforts to restrict transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care. How the court sides, in this case, could set forth a precedent for many other states in the debate as well.