Legal Standoff in Texas: Temporary Block on Paxton’s Request for Records on Transgender Minors

Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, US, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The Conservative Political Action Conference launched in 1974 brings together conservative organizations, elected leaders, and activists.

On Friday, a judge issued a temporary block on the Texas attorney general’s attempt to compel an L.G.B.T.Q. organization to provide documents regarding transgender minors and their gender-affirming care.

Medical care for gender transition is not allowed for minors in Texas due to a law passed last year.

As part of an inquiry into potential violations, the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton requested last month that the nonprofit PFLAG National, which assists families in accessing gender-affirming care for children, share information on minors in the state who may have undergone such treatments.

However, on Friday, Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel of Travis County District Court issued an injunction against Mr. Paxton, shortly after PFLAG filed a lawsuit to prevent the request, arguing that releasing the documents would result in “irreparable injury, loss, or damage” to the group.

The judge mentioned that making such a request would violate the group’s constitutional rights and could lead to significant privacy violations for its members.

The lawyers from PFLAG, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed gratitude for the court’s recognition of the harm caused by the attorney general’s office’s intrusive demands.

There was no immediate response from Mr. Paxton’s office regarding requests for comment on Friday’s order.

He has previously stated that the information from PFLAG is crucial to his investigation into medical providers attempting to circumvent the ban on gender-affirming care for minors.

Any organization that attempts to break this law, engage in fraud, or misuse science and medicine against children will face consequences,” he stated.

A hearing has been scheduled by the judge for March 25 to allow the attorney general to present arguments against the injunction.

This ruling is significant as the spotlight remains on legislation concerning transgender rights across the country.

Republicans have enacted numerous laws that seek to limit these rights, such as those imposing restrictions on bathroom use and sports team involvement.

23 states have prohibited gender-transition care for minors, with Texas being the most significant among them.

In addition to preventing minors from receiving the treatments, Texas law stipulates that doctors who offer such care will lose their medical licenses, and it prohibits health insurance plans from including coverage for the treatments.

Between 2017 and 2020, an estimated 30,000 individuals in Texas aged 13 to 17 identified as transgender, as per a study conducted by the Williams Institute at U.C.L.A.

Lately, the attorney general has been making several efforts to access records of transgender patients in an attempt to enforce state law against potential violators.

Teaming up with PFLAG, Mr. Paxton investigated two children’s hospitals in the state to access medical records of patients who underwent gender-affirming treatment.

He has even traveled across state borders to obtain such records. In November, a subpoena was sent by Mr. Paxton to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, requesting records of patients from Texas who had received care there.

In December, the hospital system filed a lawsuit against the attorney general’s office, and a judge has not made a ruling on the case yet.

This isn’t the initial instance where PFLAG has opposed Texas’ efforts to restrict gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

Texas Judge Halts Transgender Youth Care Inquiry

EDMONTON, CANADA – FEBRUARY 11: Protestors march to Churchill Square in support of trans youth in Alberta following the ‘Sing With Love’ concert at McDougall United Church, on February 11, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


In 2022, a judge granted the group’s request to temporarily halt Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate families with transgender children receiving gender-affirming care or treatment for gender dysphoria.

That order also originated from Mr. Paxton, who has stated that gender-affirming care for transgender children is “child abuse.” The result of that legal case is still pending.

There has been ongoing discussion among medical professionals regarding which children should be eligible for gender-affirming treatments and at what age.

However, prominent medical organizations in the United States, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, believe that this type of care should be accessible to minors and are against legislative restrictions.

PFLAG also opposed the state’s prohibition on gender-affirming care for minors once it was enacted.

The case regarding the constitutionality of the law is still ongoing, but the state’s Supreme Court permitted the ban to be enforced in September.  

Numerous legal actions have been filed in different states to contest their restrictions on gender-affirming care.

In November, the plaintiffs in the case against Tennessee’s law requested the US Supreme Court to intervene.

The court is still considering whether to proceed with the case.

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