Violet, who lives in Dallas with her 6-year-old transgender daughter Isa, said the news validates her decision to relocate her family to California to keep Isa safe and healthy.
CNN is withholding Violet and Isa’s last name to protect their privacy.
“There’s pretty much nothing to keep us here,” Violet said. “The general feeling[in Texas]is just constant fear. I always worry that she’s going to accidentally say something about her penis in public because that’s what happened, and I see how people react to us, which is why Texas hasn’t ever really felt safe… it’s just on by the time we get out and I want to be somewhere where there actually are laws on the books protecting them rather than trying to erase them.
Paxton’s opinion is that anyone – including parents, doctors or teachers – who has “reasonable reason” to believe that such “abuse” is occurring must report it to authorities within 48 hours. Failure to report it “is a criminal offense,” the statement said, citing Texas “family law.”
In response to the statement, Gov. Greg Abbott directed DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters to “conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into all reported instances of these abusive practices in the state of Texas.”
At the moment it is unclear how much legal force the order and the report will have.
Five Texas prosecutors issued a joint statement Thursday calling the governor’s and attorney general’s orders cruel, life-threatening and un-American.
They said they would enforce the Constitution and not “irrationally” interfere in medical decisions made by families, their children and their doctors.
Brian Klosterboer, an attorney with the Texas ACLU, told CNN that Paxton’s opinion and Abbott’s direction have no legal effect under Texas law.
“They do not have the power to take away or trample the rights of transgender youth,” Klosterboer said called.
Regardless, parents of transgender children from the Lone Star State say they are anxious and anxious. Some, like Violet, are willing to take life-changing actions, like walking the state, while others are willing to stay and fight tooth and nail.
CNN has reached out to the governor’s and attorney general’s offices for comment.
“We are desperate to keep our trans children alive and healthy and happy”
“He was kind to our faces and was a considerate guest at dinner and then he turned around and did this, broke bread with our family at our table and told us he thought our son was a good kid… and then saying all this years later that families like ours shouldn’t exist… it’s just a betrayal and I’m personally offended,” Amber said.
Paxton’s opinion doesn’t scare Amber, but she said she’s worried about what the future holds if the opinion becomes law.
“Temperatures continue to rise, the pressure on trans-inclusive families, the vilification of parents trying to wipe out our children, tearing families apart, sending our children into an already overwhelmed and broken foster care system, is growing,” Amber said. “It’s a distraction from the issues that affect the average Texan in everyday life.”
Nothing in Paxton’s opinion or Abbott’s letter referred to foster care for children who received a gender-affirming procedure.
Amber’s husband, Adam, on the other hand, said that while opinion isn’t the law, he’s scared.
“It’s pretty clear if you live in Texas, when you get all the mailings from all the conservatives, that’s their top three question,” he said. “You’re not going to let this go. So just one more turn of the crank and it’s very overwhelming.”
Katie Laird, a mom to a 15-year-old transgender son from Houston, said she wants everyone to be a part of this conversation — not just parents of trans kids.
“Something I think gets lost in a lot of these conversations, and the headlines are that truly supporting trans kids as parents is about love in action, it’s about listening to our kids when they tell us who they are are and what they need and then take that informed, thoughtful action that is the polar opposite of child abuse,” she said.
“Needless to say, I am utterly disgusted by the decision of the Texas governor and attorney general to really attack our Texas children… robbing families, to challenge that love in action.”
“We are desperate to keep our trans children alive and healthy and happy,” Laird said. “We’re confused and we spend all these hours together trying to figure out exactly what our legal rights are… I mean, it’s this dangerous and deadly political theater played out at the expense of babies… of children. “
Both Paxton and Abbott are up for re-election this year, with voting in the Republican primary beginning this week.
Support from near and far for trans youth in Texas
“It’s kind of a vulnerable thing to ask for help,” she said. “I was and still am pretty scared, but now that there’s a little bit more financial support, a little bit more financial support, I’m a lot more confident that I can pull this off.”
The support from strangers has been overwhelming, she said. Emails from people in California, Maryland and Maine have flooded her inbox with offers to help her find housing in her state.
“It’s crazy how supportive people are, and that’s not the vibe I got from Texans after we started Isa’s social transition.”
Over the summer, Violet and Isa will be relocating to California, she said, a state whose governor has said they are safe there.
Other state and local officials also responded to Paxton’s opinion. Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee released a statement saying that Paxton and Abbott “ignore medical professionals and intentionally misrepresent the law to the detriment of transgender children and their families.”
“My office will not engage in these malicious political games. As attorneys handling these cases, we have a duty to be transparent with the courts about what the law really says,” Menefee said. “We will continue to follow the rules of the books – not the politically motivated and legally incorrect ‘opinion’ of General Paxton. “
Following the news of Paxton’s opinion, celebrities have expressed their disdain for all things connected and pledged their support for transgender youth in Texas.
CNN’s Scottie Andrew, Amir Vera, Ashley Killough, and Emma Tucker contributed to this report.