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Judge Blocks Texas Attorney General from Accessing Data on Trans Youth

PFLAG National won a temporary restraining order against Ken Paxton, who demanded the organization turn over documents regarding families and their trans children.

Travis County Courthouse

A judge in Austin has blocked Attorney General Ken Paxton’s latest effort to persecute Texas families with transgender youth. 

Travis County District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel on March 1 granted a temporary restraining order against Paxton’s recent demand that the LGBTQ organization PFLAG National turn over documents about its support of families in Texas seeking gender-affirming medical care for their transgender youth. The documents, which Paxton requested in early February, would include the names and addresses of trans minors. 

Travis County District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel

“It clearly appears to the Court that unless [Paxton and the Office of the Attorney General] are immediately restrained from abusing the Deceptive Trade Practices Act by enforcing or otherwise requiring PFLAG to respond to the Civil Investigative Demand and Notice of Demand for Sworn Written Statement, immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to PFLAG and its members,”  Hexsel wrote in her court order

Hexsel set a hearing for March 25 on whether to block Paxton’s demands for as long as the case is pending.

PFLAG is represented by human rights organizations Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Texas, the ACLU, Transgender Law Center, and the law firm Arnold & Porter. In a joint statement, the four organizations said they were “grateful” for Hexsel’s ruling.

“We’re grateful that the Court saw the harm the Attorney General’s Office’s intrusive demands posed for PFLAG National and its Texas Members—and is protecting them from having to respond while we continue to litigate the legality of the office’s requests,” the groups said. “We now will return to court to seek an extended and ultimately permanent block 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.” 

PFLAG is a plaintiff in two lawsuits filed against restrictions on gender-affirming medical care for trans youth in Texas. In Loe v. Texas, PFLAG is challenging S.B. 14, the state’s ban on gender-affirming medical care for trans youth. In PFLAG v. Abbott, the organization is challenging the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ (DFPS) rule demanding investigations of parents who work with medical professionals to provide their trans children with medically necessary healthcare.  

Paxton has previously sought information on transgender people both in and outside of Texas. In January, the attorney general requested medical records from a transgender heath care provider in another state, despite having no jurisdiction. In 2022, Paxton asked the Texas DFPS to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s license and other department records during the past two years.  

 

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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