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Trans teen attempted suicide after Texas ‘child abuse’ order. Now his family is under investigation

Josh Milton June 10, 2022
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Texas governor Greg Abbott pointing an angry finger

Texas governor Greg Abbott.(Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty)

A trans teenager attempted suicide in Texas on the same day that governor Greg Abbott ordered the state to investigate families like his for “child abuse”.

In February, the Republican governor instructed Texas’ child services agency to investigate families and healthcare workers providing gender-affirming care for trans youth. 

Abbott issued the directive after attorney general Ken Paxton said healthcare for trans youth, including “life-saving” puberty blockers, was comparable to “child abuse”.

For one trans teenager, fearing the onslaught to come, the double whammy was an attack too far, and he attempted suicide.

“[He] said that the political environment, including Abbott’s Letter, and being misgendered at school, led him to take these actions,” a lawsuit against Abbott and other Texas officials said.

According to the suit, the teen survived and was admitted as an outpatient at a psychiatric facility. There, workers came to know that he was undergoing hormonal therapy.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) launched an investigation into the teenager’s family. DFPS agents visited his family home and told them the psychiatric facility had reported the family for “child abuse”.

Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference
Texas governor Greg Abbott has faced a firestorm of criticism over his repeated attacks against trans youth. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

But the families, as well as activists, aren’t going down without a fight. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal filed a joint suit in Travis County seeking to prevent Texas from probing families or guardians belonging to PFLAG, the largest group in the US for families and allies of LGBTQ+ people.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday (8 June) on behalf of PFLAG and three families, including that of the teen, hopes to protect the more than 600 members of the 17 PFLAG chapters in Texas.

Naming Abbott, DFPS commissioner Jamie Masters and the agency itself, the suit is the second legal attempt by families to put a stop to Abbott’s hostile anti-trans agenda.

Abbott’s ghoulish directive has led to at least nine families being investigated by the state for simply lovingly supporting their trans children.

A March lawsuit resulted in the Texas Supreme Court temporarily halting the inquiry into one family, adding that the governor does not have the authority to force the DFPS agents to pursue such investigations.

But the Supreme Court also reversed a statewide injunction issued by lower courts on the DFPS undertaking inquiries into families of trans children. Instead, agents were simply encouraged not to do so – yet the ruling did stress families could seek to stop them in court.

“It is indefensible for any state leader to repeatedly attack trans Texans and weaponise the child welfare system against the loving families of transgender kids and teens,” said Adri Pérez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas, in a statement.

Executive director of PFLAG National Brian Bond added: “Loving and affirming your child and empowering them to be themselves is the highest calling of any parent, no matter your child’s gender.

“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.”

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

More: greg abbott, Texas

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