Employees at the Texas Department of Public Safety in June received a sweeping request from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office: to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s license and other department records during the past two years.
“Need total number of changes from male to female and female to male for the last 24 months, broken down by month,” the chief of the DPS’s driver license division emailed colleagues in the department on June 30, according to a copy of a message obtained by The Washington Post through a public records request. “We won’t need DL/ID numbers at first but may need to have them later if we are required to manually look up documents.”
After more than 16,000 such instances were identified, DPS officials determined that a manual search would be needed to determine the reason for the changes, DPS spokesman Travis Considine told The Post in response to questions.
“A verbal request was received,” he wrote in an email. “Ultimately, our team advised the AG’s office the data requested neither exists nor could be accurately produced. Thus, no data of any kind was provided.”
Asked who in Paxton’s office had requested the records, he replied: “I cannot say.”
The behind-the-scenes effort by Paxton’s office to obtain data on how many Texans had changed their gender on their license came as the attorney general, Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican leaders in the state have been publicly marshaling resources against transgender Texans.
Paxton’s office bypassed the normal channels — DPS’s government relations and general counsel’s offices — and went straight to the driver license division staff in making the request, according to a state employee familiar with it, who said the staff was told that Paxton’s office wanted “numbers” and later would want “a list” of names, as well as “the number of people who had had a legal sex change.”