A state judge has blocked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from gathering information from a transgender advocacy group that could show how some practitioners are skirting a state law that protect children from being prescribed cross-sex hormones and receiving gender-mutilative surgeries. 

Travis County District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel ruled Friday that PFLAG and its members free speech rights and protections from unreasonable searches would be harmed by PFLAG providing the information to Paxton. Hexsel also stated that providing the information would be “gross invasions of both PFLAG’s and its members’ privacy.”

The ruling comes after Paxton’s office launched an investigation into PFLAG to determine if entities throughout Texas are committing fraud or otherwise violating Texas recently enacted Senate Bill 14.

SB 14 was passed during the 88th Legislative Session and protects vulnerable children from being chemically castrated by puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and from receiving mutilative surgeries to “transition” them. It took effect September 1, 2023.

Paxton’s office stated that the information it is seeking is relevant to the investigation into whether medical providers are committing insurance fraud “as part of a scheme to evade the law, such as by prescribing hormones for a pretextual medical diagnosis unrelated to gender transition.”

The AG’s office sought documents from PFLAG “corroborating the ‘contingency plans,’ ‘alternative avenues’ and ‘affirming general practitioners.’”  

Instead of producing the documents, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and the Transgender Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of PFLAG, requesting that a temporary restraining order be enacted to stop Paxton’s office from acquiring information from PFLAG. 

After Hexsel’s ruling, the plaintiffs released a joint statement saying that while they are thankful for the initial ruling, they will now seek a permanent halt to Paxton’s request. 

“We’re grateful that the Court saw the harm the Attorney General’s Office’s intrusive demands posed for PFLAG National and its Texas members — and is protecting them from having to respond while we continue to litigate the legality of the office’s requests. We now will return to court to seek an extended and ultimately permanent block so that PFLAG can continue supporting its Texas members with transgender youth in doing what all loving parents do: supporting and caring for their children,” they wrote.

PFLAG, along with several others, is currently in a legal battle with the state of Texas and is asking the court to declare SB 14 unconstitutional. The lawsuit against Texas defends the practice of prescribing minors with life-altering cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers. The plaintiffs also claim that individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria may become suicidal and that “risks decline when transgender people are supported and live according to their gender identity.”

Texas Scorecard reached out to Paxton’s office for a comment on the matter but did not receive a response by publication. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.