Texas State Department tasked with investigating health care of transgender youth sued by employee

The Texas Department of Family Protective Services, tasked by Governor Greg Abbott to investigate the health care of transgender youth, is being sued by one of its own employees.

The family, identified by pseudonyms, and Houston-based clinical psychologist Dr. Megan Mooney, filed the lawsuit Tuesday against TDFPS, its commissioner Jamie Masters and Abbott in Travis County court. They are asking the judge to issue an injunction that would prevent the agency from investigating families of transgender children, which was ordered by Abbott after a legal opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton found that a transgender medical treatment could constitute child abuse.

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After Abbott released his directive, Jane Doe – who works for the agency – asked her supervisor how the directive would affect her family. The woman has a 16-year-old child who is undergoing medical treatment for gender dysphoria. That same day, according to family lawyers, the woman was placed on leave and later told her family was under investigation.

“The publication of the Paxton Notice and the Abbott Letter, and their implementation by the DFPS, terrorized the Doe family and inflicted continuing and irreparable harm,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.

The legal opinion has been heavily criticized by medical groups, who say doctors already follow established standards of care when a child has gender dysmorphia.

The directive was also strongly criticized by district attorneys in Bexar, Travis, Fort Bend, Dallas and Nueces counties. In a joint statement, prosecutors said they would not pursue charges against families who sought health care for their children, calling the directive “un-American.”

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“We also want to be clear: We will apply the Constitution and not irrationally and unjustifiably interfere in medical decisions made between children, their parents and their doctors,” the lawyers wrote. “We trust the judgment of our state’s healthcare professionals, who are dedicated to providing the highest level of care not only to our transgender youth, but to all youth in our communities.”

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