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LGBTQ group sues to block Texas AG Paxton's request for records about transgender children

Some transgender Texans have raised concerns following a report that the Texas attorney general requested lists from the Department of Public Safety showing who had changed the gender on their driver's license over the past two years.
Gabriel C. Pérez
KUT News
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a national LGBTQ advocacy group to turn over information it may have about transgender minors in Texas accessing gender-affirming care.

Updated with response from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

PFLAG, a national organization for LGBTQ allies, has sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after it said he demanded information about the group’s work with transgender minors.

The group filed the suit in Travis County on Wednesday, and has asked the court to issue an injunction to allow them to withhold the information.

“This mean-spirited demand from the Attorney General’s Office is petty and invasive, which is why we want the court to put an end to it,” PFLAG’s CEO Brian K. Bond said in a press release.

On Feb. 9, the attorney general’s office sent PFLAG what’s called a “civil investigative demand” ordering it to turn over documents, including communications, meeting minutes and more, detailing interactions between the group and families with transgender children, according to PFLAG's lawsuit.

More specifically, the suit said Paxton’s office wanted information about gender-affirming health care the children were receiving. The consumer protection division issued the demand, accusing PFLAG of violating the state law by “misrepresenting” gender-affirming care procedures.

Paxton, a staunchly conservative Republican who has worked to whittle down LGBTQ rights and called gender-affirming care for minors “child abuse,” responded to the lawsuit in a press release on Thursday afternoon.

He accused PFLAG of concealing information about Texans receiving gender-affirming care in violation of the state's ban on the procedures for minors. In another court case last year, Paxton said the group acknowledged "that it has consulted with persons about 'contingency plans, 'alternative avenues to maintain care in Texas,' and so-called 'affirming' general practitioners."

The nation’s largest health care organizations, including the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association, support age-appropriate gender-affirming care treatments for minors. But the procedures have come under fire, and even been banned, in many GOP-controlled states.

Last year, Paxton’s office reportedly sent similar demands to healthcare facilities that provided gender-affirming treatments to minors in Georgia and Washington.

Paxton has confirmed — even issuing press releases promoting — other demands made against companies accused of breaking consumer protection laws. Last year, he announced an investigation into gender-affirming care for minors taking place at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin. The probe led to the hospital ousting its entire adolescent medicine clinic staff.

But Paxton has been less forthcoming about these more recent investigations he’s launched into the medical care of transgender youth.

The Texas Newsroom has requested copies of all the agency’s civil investigative demands three times this year, the latest on Feb. 19, which would have included the letter sent to PFLAG.

In response, Paxton’s agency withheld some of the demands, arguing they cannot be released because of a carve out in the public records law that allows information about “anticipated litigation” to be kept secret. It did not release a copy of the PFLAG demand.

PFLAG is embroiled in two other lawsuits with Paxton’s office.

One challenges the agency’s decision in 2022 toinvestigate the families of transgender youth for child abuse, and the second seeks to block the state law prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors.

Lauren McGaughy is an investigative reporter and editor at The Texas Newsroom. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X and Threads @lmcgaughy.