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North Texas transgender teen's family investigated for 'child abuse'; attorney says long battle ahead for trans rights

"The only reason they were being investigated was because of some politically-motivated report that we don't know who made," said attorney Ian Pittman.

DALLAS — Adam and Amber Briggle, of North Texas, say the state has reached a "tipping point." The couple, who has a transgender child, says Texas has put loving families in the crosshairs for political points. 

WFAA first met with the Briggles in late February, when Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton announced state department investigations into parents and caretakers of transgender children.

Abbott and the attorney general wrote to state departments, calling gender-affirming or transitioning procedures "child abuse." Abbott and Paxton have appealed to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), asking them to investigate.

"It is state-sponsored terrorism... that's really what it is," said Briggles' attorney Ian Pittman, of Jorgeson Pittman L.L.P.. 

"[The family} feels emotionally drained and exhausted. They are living every parent's worst nightmare," said Pittman.

The Briggles have a family blog, where in their latest entry, the family describes receiving a phone call from an investigator in late February. 

"We need you to imagine how it feels to have done nothing wrong, and still get that phone call from Child Protective Services (CPS). When we were notified of the allegations, it was as if the wind had been knocked out of us. We wanted to scream and cry, but we had no air," read the post.

Pittman told WFAA that the family was not given much notice before the investigator arrived. 

"The only reason they were being investigated was because of some politically-motivated report that we don't know who made," said Pittman. 

The family would later consent to a search of the home and a litany of questions. The family also had their attorney on the phone when the visit occurred. 

Pittman said questions about their child's medical information were not answered because that information is protected federally.

WFAA spoke with a spokesperson for DFPS and asked about what grounds these families were being investigated. The department referred WFAA to Abbott's letter announcing the investigation.

DFPS also sent WFAA the Texas Family Code where it outlines "abuse." Broadly put, the statue reads that any action that leads to physical, mental, or emotional injury, could constitute abuse. 

Pittman maintains that there is currently no Texas statute that identifies gender-affirming care as child abuse. 

The department also told the station that it cannot comment how many families are being investigated because of litigation. 

Pittman said he represents two families who are being investigated, and a whole host of other families in waiting for their CPS call. 

When a Texas court Wednesday tossed out the state's appeal stopping transgender investigations, it gave some families comfort. But they are prepared for a long legal fight.  


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