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A judge ordered Texas to suspend child abuse investigations against 3 families with transgender children

<i>Eric Gay/AP/FILE</i><br/>Demonstrators gather on the steps to the State Capitol to speak against transgender-related legislation bills being considered in the Texas Senate and Texas House on May 20
Eric Gay/AP/FILE
Demonstrators gather on the steps to the State Capitol to speak against transgender-related legislation bills being considered in the Texas Senate and Texas House on May 20

By Andy Rose, CNN

A district court judge in Texas has ordered the state to suspend child abuse investigations against three families with transgender children who sued Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week.

The temporary restraining order also applies to any families who are members of the LGBTQ organization PFLAG.

The judge said the investigations can cause “immediate and irreparable injury,” including, “gross invasions of privacy in the home and school, and the resulting trauma felt by parents, siblings, and other household members,” as well as negative impacts on grades and school activity, fear and anxiety and “increased incidence of depression.”

The investigations, carried out by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), come after state Attorney General Ken Paxton released a non-legally binding opinion earlier this year declaring providing gender-affirming surgical procedures and drugs affecting puberty should be considered “child abuse.”

Following the declaration, the governor directed the DFPS to conduct investigations into parents and guardians who allow their children to receive the targeted treatments.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed earlier this week, include three transgender children who have been prescribed gender-affirming medical treatment and their parents, who say they have been investigated by the department’s Child Protective Services for possible child abuse, according to the suit.

The children were not identified by name due to privacy concerns. The investigation against one of the families in the lawsuit, Adam and Amber Briggle, was closed by DFPS and child abuse was ruled out, plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Castillo said. The Briggle family is the only one whose real names are used in the lawsuit.

“That families will be protected from invasive, unnecessary, and unnerving investigations by DFPS simply for helping their transgender children thrive and be themselves is a very good thing,” said Brian K. Bond, the executive director of PFLAG, in a statement.

“However, let’s be clear: These investigations into loving and affirming families shouldn’t be happening in the first place,” the statement added.

In a separate ruling in March, a district court judge also granted a temporary restraining order preventing the state from performing a child abuse investigation of another family seeking gender-affirming health care for their transgender child.

Last month, the Texas Supreme Court said the state’s investigations could continue while the appeals process played out.

CNN has reached out to the governor’s office, the DFPS and the attorney general’s office for comment.

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