The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of Texas along with the Texas-based law firm Baker Botts LLP today (Wednesday, June 8)  filed a new lawsuit in Texas state court on behalf of PFLAG National and three Texas families demanding the court block state investigations of PFLAG families in Texas who are supporting their transgender children with medically necessary health care.

The lawsuit names Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who issued a February directive stating that health care that is medically necessary for treating gender dysphoria should be considered a form of child abuse, based on a non-binding and discredited legal opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit also names Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Jaime Masters and DFPS as defendants.

In announcing the lawsuit, Brian K. Bond, executive director of PFLAG National, said, “For nearly 50 years, PFLAG parents have united against government efforts to harm their LGBTQ kids. By going after trans kids and their families, Gov. Abbott has picked a fight with thousands of families in Texas and across the country who are united as members of PFLAG National.

“Loving and affirming your child and empowering them to be themselves is the highest calling of any parent, no matter your child’s gender,” Bond added. “If it takes a court ruling to ensure that the law protects families who lead with love in support of transgender Texans, so be it.”

PFLAG provides confidential peer support, education, and advocacy to LGBTQIA people, their parents and families, and allies. With a nationwide network of hundreds of chapters — including 17 in Texas — PFLAG National works with families, schools, and communities to build safety and support for transgender youth.

In an earlier lawsuit brought by the ACLU, Lambda Legal, ACLU of Texas, and Baker Botts, the Texas Supreme Court upheld part of an appeals court order preventing DFPS from investigating parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary health care. The Supreme Court upheld a restraining order preventing DFPS from investigating the plaintiff family in that case, Doe v. Abbott, while the case continues through the courts. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the restraining order preventing investigations of other such families. Since then DFPS has since started up those investigations again.

The Texas Supreme Court did emphasize that neither Paxton nor Abbott have the power or authority to direct DFPS to conduct investigations.

Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said, “It is indefensible for any state leader to repeatedly attack trans Texans and weaponize the child welfare system against the loving families of transgender kids and teens. We will continue to fight against these baseless attacks on our community.

“Transgender kids deserve to have life-saving gender-affirming care in Texas, so that they might live safely grow up to be transgender adults,” Pérez continued. “During this Pride Month, we must take a stand against government leaders that are hellbent on stoking fear, and trying to criminalize transgender young people and their families.”

Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Paul D. Castillo added, “Notwithstanding the clear language in the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling that [Paxton and Abbott] do not have the power or authority to direct DFPS to investigate loving families who are providing medically necessary care for their transgender adolescents as child abuse, the agency seems determined to target these families and threaten to tear them apart. With today’s filing, we are joining with PFLAG in working to protect all Texas families who simply want to make sure their children are safe, happy, and healthy. It is unconscionable that the state wants to interfere in that relationship.”

Doctors and medical organizations have been providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth for decades, but such medical care has increasingly become a target of attacks from state lawmakers. Federal courts have blocked the enforcement of legislative bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Arkansas and Alabama and no court in the country has ever classified gender-affirming care as child abuse. Texas is the only state threatening to take children from parents providing such care and place those children in the state’s already over-burdened and failing foster care system.

Shared resources and information can be found at If you’ve been contacted by DFPS or know of a family that has been contacted by DFPS, please contact the Lambda Legal Help Desk.

The full complaint can be found here.

— Tammye Nash