Parents Who Invited Texas' AG to Meet Their Trans Son Now Being Investigated for Child Abuse

Amber and Adam Briggle say that six years after they had Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over for dinner to meet their transgender son, they’re being investigated

Amber Briggle and Max
Amber Briggle and her son. Photo: Amber Briggle/Facebook

A family who had Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over for dinner to meet their transgender son say they're now being investigated by child protective services under Paxton's new directive that called gender-affirming care for trans kids a form of "child abuse."

Six years ago, Amber and Adam Briggle invited Paxton to dinner to meet their son (whom they'd prefer not to name) and "put a human face" on the push for transgender rights. To their surprise, he accepted, and the family, alongside Paxton and his wife, Angela, ate steak kabobs and watermelon at their dining table in Denton, Texas.

"He literally went into a bathroom with my transgender son so they could wash their hands before dinner," Amber told The 19th. "He turns around and looks and says, 'This is nice. It's been a while since I had kids this age.' "

Now years later, the Briggles say they're under investigation by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and at rising of losing custody of their kids. The investigation is part of a new directive, initiated by Paxton and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, to inspect parents who they believe are allowing their transgender children to get gender-affirming health care.

In a letter sent at the end of February, Paxton said that allowing children to get treatments like hormone-suppressing drugs or therapies "can legally constitute child abuse" under Texas' family code. A few days later, Abbott directed (DFPS) to start investigating families and said that those found in violation will face criminal charges.

Amber Briggle
Amber Briggle. Amber Briggle/Facebook

In a statement shared on her website, Amber said that DFPS contacted her on Feb. 28.

"When we were notified of the allegations, it was as if the wind had been knocked out of us," she said. "We wanted to scream and cry, but we had no air. The room was spinning. Raising a transgender child in Texas has been one long political emergency."

Adam, a tenured professor, and Amber, the owner of a massage studio, hired a lawyer and prepared their 14-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter for a home investigation two days later.

"We told the children that they have the right to not answer questions. We told them that the government is trying to spy on us even though we have done nothing wrong," she said.

Amber Briggle and Max
Amber Briggle and her son. Amber Briggle/Facebook

The inspector interviewed the family and looked through the house.

"We showed her all the food in our cabinets, the kids' artwork on the walls, the toys, books, and games in the family room … The gardens and trampoline in the backyard. The beds piled with blankets and stuffed animals," Amber wrote. "It was impossible for her not to feel the love in our home."

"Before she left, she said that we were 'clearly doing something right' as she gestured toward our son who was practicing his cello. Then she left. But we are still here, waiting to see how the fate of our family will be decided."

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Since Abbott and Paxton's directive, DFPS has opened investigations into at least five families, including one parent who works for DFPS, the Texas Tribune has confirmed.

That parent has sued Abbott and DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters, accusing them of having "trampled on the Constitutional rights of transgender children, their parents and professionals who provide vital care to transgender children." A separate lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal has temporarily blocked at least one of the investigations from continuing, and another judge will hear arguments on a possible statewide injunction.

Major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have said that gender-affirming medical care is a medically-necessary service for transgender kids.

The day that the Briggles had their home investigation, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said Texas' actions are illegal and that the federal government will intervene.

"HHS will take immediate action if needed," Becerra said in a statement. "I know that many youth and their supportive families are feeling scared and isolated because of these attacks. HHS is closely monitoring the situation in Texas, and will use every tool at our disposal to keep Texans safe."

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