Despite some legislative defeats, there could be more battles ahead.
TEXAS, USA – Just over 30 bills targeting LGBTQ + jeans were introduced in the 2021 legislative session, according to Equality Texas, which tracks anti-LGBTQ + bills.
But despite legislative defeats, the Republican-controlled legislature could return and succeed in pursuing the pride community.
“This legislation does not come from a challenge in Texas or a problem they are trying to solve. It is a problem they are trying to create,” said Rep. Ann Johnson.
Johnson, a Democrat, is an openly gay member of the Texas state legislature, a minority in itself.
He has been at the receiving end of the defense against anti-LGBTQ + bills to become law in the lone star state.
“Many of my Republican colleagues are attacking children and their families just for political gain. That’s all,” Johnson said.
From proposing legislation to restrict the practice of young trans sports, allowing companies to deny services to LGBTQ people to blocking attention to gender assertion, Johnson says lawmakers are playing a dangerous game with lives.
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“What we’re seeing with this rhetoric is that we’re seeing an increase in violence against our LGBTQ community. We’re also seeing an increase in children’s self-harm, and so the rhetoric is dangerous,” Johnson said.
In February, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services to conduct investigations into child abuse against parents who used gender affirmation care.
“The idea that the governor of the state of Texas would direct DFPS to try to get kids out of the homes they love, affirm and support these kids and I would like to force them to get into this broken CPS system, I think it underscores the that we “see is not a concern for children,” said Brad Pritchett, Texas Equality field director.
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The Texas Supreme Court later ruled that the governor did not have the authority to do so, but DFPS could do it on its own, and perhaps according to a recent lawsuit.
When asked for a comment, the agency said, “We do not comment on specific abuse / neglect investigations.”
As for legislative thrusts, there could be more in the future.
Rep. Bryan Slaton says he will propose a bill to ban “drag shows in front of children.”
He did not return an interview request.