AUSTIN, Texas – Friday began with families denouncing the investigation of parents providing gender assurance care to their transgender children and ended with a Travis County judge issuing a temporary restraining order to stop those same investigations, at least for a particular subset of parents who identify with an association.
The state created the Texas Council on Family and Protective Services when the Department of Family and Protective Services split from the Health and Human Services Commission in 2017. On Friday morning, 62 speakers registered to address the council.
Most had the same theme: transgender parents who fear a DFPS investigation into child abuse.
To date, no more than a dozen DFPS investigations have been published, most of them at the time of Governor Greg Abbott’s initial directive. Abbott’s letter to DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters on Feb. 22 was one-page, noting that sex change operations could be defined as child abuse and should be investigated.
The mere threat of an investigation, however, has parents horrified and upset. More than a handful of statements read to the Texas Family and Protection Services Council were read by attorney because people feared that witnessing would lead to investigations.
Some of the speakers on Friday morning were the parents. At least one was a 13-year-old transgender child. A handful worked with or for DFPS, including a counselor. Others were the parents of transgender adult children who wanted to read the words of those parents who still feared the pay of a state agency.
One speaker, reading the words of a therapist who worked with foster children, said she had to refer 13 children to other providers to avoid reporting them as transgender young people. The therapist said she no longer had confidence that DFPS had done what was in the best interests of the children and their families.
“I was part of the solution, not the problem,” Susan Theiss read about the person’s testimony. “Commissioner [Jaime] Teachers remained silent during the many attempts by professionals to express how important your voice was to trans youth. I was disgusted over time, and my friend was being investigated, endlessly in sight. It’s outrageous. “
Morgan Davis, a researcher who resigned from the DFPS after being assigned a transgender investigation, said 150 of his colleagues resigned from the agency in protest of the transgender policy. The agency, which was asked directly, was unable to confirm that number, saying employees are not required to cite a reason why they resign when they resign.
“We want our work back. We would love to do it right,” Davis told the council. “We want to take care of these kids. I want to be the advocate I wanted for myself as a kid. Let me do that. Beautiful kids deserve to be beautiful adults, and that’s all we ask for.”
The entire audience stood up and applauded as Davis left the podium.
Jo Ivester, the mother of a transgender adult, read the words of a mother who is being investigated. The mother lamented how well her transgender daughter was doing to her with proper care.
“When it came out to me, I was afraid it would be the object of violence and hardship,” Ivester read. “But the American Pediatric Association has recommended asserting gender identity as a medical necessity to keep our children safe and healthy, which is what all mothers want.”
Today, the possibility of losing that care for her daughter is frightening, Ivester said.
“My son is doing the best he has ever done with the affirmative care we have given him,” Iverson read. “She has made great strides, both educationally and socially. She’s the bravest person I’ve ever met. “
The Texas Board of Family and Protection Services advises the commissioner. He has no power of hiring or firing; nor can it control what Masters implements in the agency. Individual members could advocate for change; it would not be binding on the agency.
Abbott’s directive that gender assertion care should be treated as child abuse has had an intermittent state since it was issued in late February. First came an order. A Texas Supreme Court ruling was then issued in which the Department of Family Services and Protective Services’ gender-based care can be investigated, along with child abuse.
On Friday, another precautionary measure was issued, filed by Lambda Legal and Texas ACLU on behalf of members of PFLAG, the national association of lesbian and gay parents, families and friends. Anyone claiming to be a member of the PFLAG can now avoid an investigation by the state agency.
“When we learned that the DFPS had resumed the investigation, when the Texas Supreme Court made it clear that neither the governor nor the attorney general had the authority to compel such investigations, we knew we needed to act quickly to strengthen the support and protection of parents who they are working to provide love, support and security to their children, “said Paul Castillo, a senior lawyer for Lambda Legal, in a statement issued on Friday afternoon. “It is inconceivable that DFPS will continue to cause more trauma and harm to these young people and these families. We are grateful that the judge saw this activity clearly for what it was and moved so quickly to stop it.”
Parents urge DFPS to stop transgender research
Source link Parents urge DFPS to stop transgender research