A trans investigator for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) was asked to investigate the gender-affirming parents of a trans minor.
The day after Governor Greg Abbott’s February order to “conduct a prompt and thorough investigation” of families with transgender kids, Morgan Davis, 52, was assigned the very first case. He had transitioned just nine months earlier.
A “mandated reporter,” defined as any licensed professional who works directly with children, had informed the Austin-area family. 48 hours later, Morgan found himself at their doorstep, filled with self-doubt, but sure of his good intentions.
“If it’s got to be someone,” he recalled to the Washington Post, “I want it to be me.”
The family had hired two lawyers, one for themselves and one for their child. Morgan set about asking all the questions he would have asked of other families accused of abuse: How do you discipline your child? When is the last time they went to the doctor? How would you describe your relationship with your child?
He asked to see the child’s medical records, as required by state law. On advice of counsel, her parents declined the request. Davis was relieved, since he wouldn’t have to include evidence of any medical therapy for the child’s gender dysphoria, which the state now defines as abuse.
Then he told the family he’d need to question the child separately. “Do you know where your privates are?” he asked her. “Has anyone touched them?”
An hour later, Davis had determined the family was “impeccable.” He could close the case.
When he relayed the news to his supervisor, she stopped him in his tracks. “Unfortunately,” the supervisor said, “We have to wait.” One of her bosses had to join the investigation. In short order, nine more families found themselves under threat from the DFPS.
Within a week, the first lawsuit challenging Abbott’s order was filed.
An employee at DFPS, the mother of a 16 year-old transgender girl, had asked her supervisor how Abbott’s order would affect her family. She was placed on administrative leave and became the subject of another abuse investigation. The lawsuit described the woman’s child as “traumatized by the prospect that she could be separated from her parents and could lose access to the medical treatment that has enabled her to thrive.”
Davis realized he’d perpetrated the same harm. “I hurt a child. I hurt a family, a family I would have wanted.”
Two months later, he quit.
“I was complicit,” Davis said. “I thought I was doing good, but I should have resigned that first night. The only way to do good, I realized, was to get out and go public.”
In August, Davis joined 15 former colleagues, who had also resigned in protest, to sign an amicus brief condemning the policy. In the process, Davis came out publicly.
“Davis resigned in May 2022 after about one year as a CPS Investigator for DFPS,” his lawyer wrote. “Mr. Davis is an openly transgender man.”