State Watch

Texas removes LGBT youth resource page after complaint from Abbott challenger

A Texas agency has removed its resource page for LGBT youth after a Republican candidate challenging Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in next year’s election claimed tax dollars were being used to “advocate for transgender ideology.”

Republican Don Huffines, a conservative activist and owner of a real estate development company, said the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services was publishing “disturbing information about our youth.”

“Gov. Abbott’s political appointees that are running the Department of Family and Protective Services have put out — and it’s been on their website — some very disturbing information about our youth. They are promoting transgender sexual policies to our — to Texas youth,” Huffines said in a video posted to Twitter in late August.

“They’re talking about helping empower and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, non-heterosexual behavior,” he added.  

“I mean, really? This is Texas. These are not Texas values. These are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values,” Huffines continued.

Within hours, the Texas Department of Family and Protective services took down the page, the Houston Chronicle reported on Tuesday.

In its place, a message on the website states that the previous content is now under review.

“The Texas Youth Connection website has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current,” the message reads. The site also includes links to a youth help hotline and “preparation for adult living.”

The Texas Youth Connection page provided information for several services, including housing and LGBT resources.

The Hill has reached out to the department and Abbott’s office for comment.

In a statement to the Chronicle, a spokesman for the department, Patrick Crimmins, said the review of the website was still “ongoing” but did not elaborate.

According to the Chronicle, which obtained information about the decision to pull down the webpage through a records request, members of the agency discussed the “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” page following Huffines’s tweet.

Media relations director Marissa Gonzales emailed Crimmins following Huffine’s tweet and wrote, “FYI. This is starting to blow up on Twitter.”

The Chronicle also reported that Crimmins reached out to a colleague and said the LGBT resource page may need to be taken down or changed in some way.

The news comes as LGBT issues, specifically those pertaining to transgender youth, have become a new target of many GOP candidates and Republican-led state legislatures.

Dozens of bills have been introduced across the country at the state level in an effort to limit access to gender-affirming health care such as puberty blockers and gender affirmation surgeries for transgender youth. 

In addition, legislation has been proposed to limit transgender women and girls from participating on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

Many Republican politicians have argued that the bills are designed to protect children.

LGBT advocates argue that such legislation can have a severe impact on mental and physical health.

State Watch