Texas GOP’s new platform calls gay people “abnormal” and rejects trans identities

The Republican Party of Texas unveiled its official stance on LGBTQ issues over the weekend, calling homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and also opposing “all efforts to validate transgender identity”.

Thousands of Republican activists gathered Saturday at the party’s biennial convention in Houston to accept the party’s platform on a range of issues, including the rejection of the 2020 election results and a call to repeal the 1965 Voting Right Act, which it was enacted to prevent discrimination against black voters.

In a section entitled “Homosexuality and Gender Issues”, the party suggested that LGBTQ people should not be legally protected from discrimination and that being gay or trans is a choice.

“Homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice,” reads the 40-page resolution. “We believe that there should be no granting of special legal rights or creation of a special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of the state of origin, and we oppose any criminal or civil sanctions against those who oppose homosexuality by faith, conviction or belief in tradition values. “

Additionally, Texas Republicans have called for a ban on gender-affirming treatments – including the distribution of puberty blockers or hormone-suppressing therapies and the performance of gender-affirming surgeries – for anyone under the age of 21.

The party’s new official stance on LGBTQ issues was unveiled during Pride Month and, as supporters fight against a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states across the country this year – more than 340, according to the campaign for human rights, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group.

LGBTQ + supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas on May 4, 2021.Campaign file Erich Schlegel / AP Images for Human Rights

Texas lawmakers didn’t enact anti-LGBTQ legislation this year, but they pushed headline-generating anti-LGBTQ policies in other ways.

In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the state child care agency to investigate child abuse complaints filed against parents who may be providing their trans children with gender-affirming medical care. And earlier this month, a Texas lawmaker announced it would introduce new legislation to ban minors from watching drag queen shows in the state.

Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, called the platform “extreme, but not necessarily new.”

“I’m glad they were really explicit in their words because these words now correspond to their actions,” said Martinez. “This isn’t surprising, but it’s certainly painful for the LGBTQ people living here in Texas.”

The Republican Party of Texas prevented Republicans Log Cabin, a longtime group of gay conservatives – who also support many of the party’s anti-LGBTQ policies – from having a booth at the convention on Saturday. The group criticized the party’s decision to prevent him from participating, calling on the state GOP to “expand the tent”.

“President Trump, who has historically expanded the GOP coalition, has made it clear that conservatives LGBT are welcome in the America First movement and the Republican Party,” the organization said in a statement last week. “It is shameful that the Texas GOP leadership chooses not to follow his example.”

The party’s new official stance on sexual orientation and gender identity also coincides with a recent wave of nationwide rhetoric from media and political experts on LGBTQ issues.

In recent months, conservative lawmakers, television pundits and other public figures have accused opponents of recently enacted Florida education legislation – which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law – of trying to “clean up” or “indoctrinate.” ” the children. The word “grooming” has long been associated with the misdefinition of LGBTQ people, especially gay men and transgender women, as child sexual offenders.

Supporters have urged public officials not to use the accused rhetoric, warning that it could cause direct violence against LGBTQ Americans.

At least three LGBTQ events were targeted by white nationalist groups this month, with police arresting 31 people at an annual Pride in the Park event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on suspicion of conspiracy to revolt. . Those arrested showed up at the event with gas masks and shields.

The new Texas Republican Party platform also thwarts President Joe Biden’s recent efforts to expand LGBTQ rights through the executive branch.

Last week, the president signed an executive order that will direct federal health and education agencies to expand access to gender-affirming care and promote inclusive LGBTQ learning environments in American schools. It will also limit federal funding for the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which nearly all major US medical associations have condemned, and ask the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether the practice constitutes an unfair or deceptive act.

The Texas GOP’s stance on same-sex marriage is in line with the national party. The most recent Republican National Committee platform – which was promulgated in 2016 and renewed in 2020 – includes at least five references to marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman.

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