The 2022 Republican Party of Texas State Convention was held over the weekend in Houston. LGBTQ people were on the agenda at the four-day conference that convened June 16-19. The Texas GOP approved an updated 40-page party platform that contains a series of anti-LGBTQ policies including an end to same-sex marriage and nullification of the Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court ruling, support for conversion therapy, bans on gender-affirming care for trans youth and total restriction of any sex education that includes sexual orientation or gender identity.
At the convention, the GOP discussed a myriad of hot button political issues, often referred to under the “culture wars” rubric. These included voting rights, abortion, Critical Race Theory, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and gender-affirming medical care for trans youth, among other issues.
The party platform also states that President Biden was not legitimately elected, replicating the Big Lie promoted by Donald Trump. There is also a segment on the lives of the “preborn, ” which calls for students to “learn about the Humanity of the Preborn Child.” Texas has the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country.
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a putative front runner for the GOP presidential race in 2024 — has grabbed national headlines with his “Don’t Say Gay” law and his fight with the Disney company, Florida’s largest private employer, over Disney’s pro-LGBTQ stance, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has led the nation in anti-LGBTQ policies, which have included attempts to prosecute parents seeking gender-affirming medical care for their trans children. Abbott has been called out by President Biden for directing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families of trans youth for child abuse.
In a section titled “Homosexuality and Gender Issues,” the Texas GOP platform presents a series of extreme anti-LGBTQ stances. The platform states unequivocally that “homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice” and that “there should be no special legal entitlements” or “creation of special status for homosexual behavior.” The platform also calls for an end to opposition over any “civil or criminal penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”
The section on homosexuality is followed by a section on gender identity. The gender identity section states, “We oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity.”
It continues, “For the purpose of attempting to affirm a person age 21 or under if their perception is inconsistent with their biological sex,” “no medical practioner or provider may engage in the following practices” and lists administration of puberty blockers and hormone treatments as well as “any surgery on healthy body parts of the under age person.”
Gender affirming treatments are supported by the American Pediatric Association and the American Medical Association. Available research has determined that gender affirming healthcare improves the emotional and psychological health of trans youth as well as trans adults.
A stipulation in the platform also states simply that there be “No Taxpayer Funding for Sex Change.”
Yet another section supports conversion therapy — referred in the platform as “Reintegrative Therapy.” That section bans any penalty for “therapists, psychologists and counselors licensed in the State of Texas” who utilize conversion therapy “when counseling clients of any age with gender dysphoria or unwanted same-sex attraction.”
As PGN has reported extensively, conversion therapy is the pseudo-scientific practice of using psychological, emotional, spiritual, medical and even surgical treatments singularly or in combination to attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2016, the World Psychiatric Association reportedly found “no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed.”
In 2020, the Independent Forensic Expert Group (IFEG) of health specialists declared that conversion therapy is “a form of deception, false advertising and fraud.”
And a UN report released last May asserts that conversion therapy “contradicts international human rights law, which is guided by the fundamental principles of universality, equality and non-discrimination, making the practice inherently discriminatory.” The report also asserts that it interferes in “personal integrity and autonomy” and “violates the right to health, including the freedom from non-consensual medical treatment.”
The Texas GOP also takes on same-sex marriage. This section of the platform begins with a “Definition of Marriage,” which states that marriage is “a legal and moral covenant only between one biological man and one biological woman.”
There is also a stipulation that there not be “any changes in the definition of marriage,” and that there be a nullification of “an unconstitutional ruling” — Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruling which legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
“We believe the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, overturning the Texas law prohibiting same-sex marriage in Texas, has no basis in the Constitution and should be nullified.”
As PGN previously reported, Obergefell could be overturned following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in a ruling expected this month.
The platform also addresses the broad-based issue of “parental rights,” which is what the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” law purports to be. In two very long sections on parental rights the Texas platform states that there should be no restrictions on homeschooling and that parents should have sole control over what a child is taught and how.
Within this section is “Sexual Education,” which states in part, “We demand the State Legislature pass a law prohibiting the teaching of sex
education, sexual health, or sexual choice or identity in any public school in any grade whatsoever, or disseminating or permitting the dissemination by any party of any material regarding the same.”
“Inappropriate and/or Harmful Content” adds more anti-LGBTQ policy and equates Drag Queen Story Hour with pornography and adult entertainment.
Referencing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, the platform reads, “We support passage of a law more comprehensive than the Florida law that prohibits instruction in sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. We advocate for those who violate any of the above to have their educator’s certification revoked and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law where appropriate.”
The Texas GOP is the largest state Republican party, and Texas has led the national Republican party with regard to restrictive laws against women and LGBTQ people. Thus far, the conservative-led U.S. Supreme Court has not enjoined against any of those laws.
The full platform can be read at https://texasgop.org/.