The Briggle family got a Mother’s Day surprise on Sunday when Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke showed up to their home to cook burgers, broccoli, and potatoes for the family.
O’Rourke specifically visited them to discuss the transphobic policies that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has used to attack families like the Briggles, including an order for the state to investigate supportive parents of transgender children for child abuse.
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“If the most powerful man in the state of Texas is saying they are child abusers or bad people, I found they are the exact opposite,” O’Rourke said, according to WFAA. “We need the people of Texas to support this family. Being here tonight and shining a light on their story helps them to live their best lives.”
In March, Abbott directed the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to start investigating the Briggles and at least eight other families for “child abuse” just because they accessed gender-affirming medical care for their trans kids.
Although a judge has temporarily blocked Abbott from using the DFPS as a transphobic police force, local families still fear that their homes will be torn apart just for supporting their kids.
“They feel emotionally drained,” the family’s lawyer Ian Pittman told WFAA. “They are living every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Investigators from Child Protective Services (CPS) visited the family in March and asked them invasive questions about their child’s medical care. Pittman advised them not to answer CPS’ questions, as a child’s medical information is legally protected from state inquiries.
The family felt especially betrayed since, six years ago, they hosted state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) to discuss trans issues with them at their dinner table. The Briggles said that things have only gotten worse in the state since then.
O’Rourke has long been an LGBTQ ally. While serving as an El Paso City Councilor, he fought for domestic partner benefits for LGBTQ couples. During his unsuccessful campaigns for U.S. Senate in 2018 and the presidency in 2020, he proposed comprehensive policies to help prevent anti-LGBTQ discrimination nationwide.
On the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, he posted an image of himself wearing a shirt that says “Don’t Mess With Trans Kids,” a play upon the long-running anti-littering campaign slogan, “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
“I will always fight alongside you to ensure that you’re able to live freely as yourself, free from attacks and discrimination,” O’Rourke declared on that same day. “We speak about everyone in this state with pride. We talk about a Texas that is big enough for all of us. We target no one based on any difference between us whether it is the color of your skin, your country of national origin, or the fact that you are nonbinary. I think you’re amazing. I’m proud of you. I want you to do great things in this state.”
O’Rourke will face off against Abbott in the state’s general election on November 8.