State Watch

Texas AG says Austin school district’s Pride Week is ‘breaking state laws’

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said in a letter to the Austin Independent School District (AISD) this week that its Pride Week was “breaking state law.”

Paxton wrote Tuesday that by hosting pride week, the district “has, at best undertaken a week-long instructional effort in human sexuality without parental consent. Or, worse [the] district is cynically pushing a week-long indoctrination of [students] that not only fails to obtain parental consent, but subtly cuts parents out of the loop.” 

The Texas AG also wrote that the Austin ISD’s curriculum and lesson plans “deal head-on with sexual orientation and gender identity—topics that unmistakably constitute ‘human sexuality instruction’ governed by state law.”

Austin ISD posted to its website that it would be hosting Pride Week from March 21-March 25 as “a time to highlight the district’s commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment”  to align “with the National LGBT Health Awareness Week.”

District’s superintendent Stephanie Elizalde responded to Paxton in a tweet, writing: “I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks.” 

District spokesman Jason Stanford told The Washington Post“We’re going to react to this by doubling down on making sure our kids feel safe and celebrating Pride.”

Paxton’s letter comes as Florida faced national blowback for passing a “Don’t say gay” bill, which bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools. 

It also follows another controversy involving Paxton last week, when he intentionally misgendered U.S. assistant health secretary Rachel Levine, causing Twitter to flag the tweet as “hateful conduct,” though it left the tweet up.

Paxton’s Tweet was a response to USA Today naming Levine, a transgender woman, as one of its “Women of the Year.”

 

Paxton last month issued a memo arguing that gender-affirming care for transgender teens, such as puberty blockers, amounted to child abuse.

Shortly after, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered state agencies to investigate reports of transgender children receiving gender-affirming treatment as child abuse.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against Texas on behalf of the mother of a transgender teen who claimed she was investigated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

A Texas judge in in early March rejected an appeal from Paxton in the case.

Tags anti-LGBT discrimination anti-LGBT legislation Austin gay pride Greg Abbott Ken Paxton Ken Paxton LGBT Paxton Rachel Levine Rachel Levine Texas Texas Texas Attorneys General Trans woman Transgender

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