Texas Gov. gives curt 6-word reply to proposed U.N. investigation of state’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws

LGBTQ

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the media before the 2016 Republican National Committee debate.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Photo: Shutterstock

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a curt six-word response to media reports of LGBTQ+ advocates asking the United Nations to investigate the “deteriorating human rights situation” for queer people in the state.

“The UN can go pound sand,” Abbott wrote in a post on X published on Sunday. He signed at least seven anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law last year. State Republican lawmakers have introduced at least 141 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation during the most recent legislative term.

In late January, LGBTQ+ advocacy groups filed a petition with the U.N. claiming that the state of Texas has violated international human rights law with its passage of seven anti-LGBTQ+ laws last year.

The letter of allegation – signed by GLAAD, the ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, the Human Rights Campaign, and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law Human Rights Clinic – was submitted to 17 independent experts, working groups, and special rapporteurs at the U.N. The letter described the actions taken by state officials last year that were hostile to the human rights of LGBTQ+ people.

“In 2023, the Texas Legislature targeted the LGBTQIA+ community through hostile laws that have disrupted (or will disrupt) the ability of LGBTQIA+ persons to effectuate their rights,” the letter stated. “Taken individually, the seven pieces of legislation discussed in this submission will disrupt the lives of LGBTQIA+ people of various ages and backgrounds. Put together, the Bills are a systemic attack on the fundamental rights, dignities, and identities of LGBTQIA+ persons that opens the gates for discrimination by both public and private actors.”

“Considering the danger this represents, we humbly ask for you to make inquiries into this backsliding of human rights of LGBTQIA+ persons in the state of Texas, United States of America. Furthermore, the United States federal government has failed to adopt necessary and adequate measures to prevent these abuses. While some federal courts have placed injunctions on some of the Bills, the federal government has not adopted a proper response to the systemic attack on LGBTQIA+ persons living in the state of Texas,” the letter added.

The letter drew attention to S.B. 14, which was signed by Abbott in June 2023, a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors and requires those already transitioning in the state to detransition. A federal court issued an injunction against the law.

The letter also pointed to S.B. 17, passed last year, which banned diversity programs at public universities and precludes references to gender identity and sexual orientation – as well as other identities – during staff training. The law has been used to eliminate LGBTQ+ spaces at public universities and, the letter said, to eliminate HIV testing programs.

Texas’s S.B. 15, signed in June 2023, banned transgender students from participating in school sports, and it’s also mentioned in the letter. The letter also mentions the state’s drag ban, S.B. 12; a bill allowing public schools to hire religious chaplains, S.B. 763; H.B. 900, a ban on “sexually explicit” materials in school libraries that is so vague critics say it can be used to ban any book mentioning sexuality at all, including the Bible; and H.B. 2127, which bans local governments from providing anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people that go beyond what state law already says.

The letter asked the U.N. to investigate each of the bills and to ask Texas officials how the bills protect LGBTQ+ people’s rights.

“Considering the danger this represents, we humbly ask for you to make inquiries into this backsliding of human rights of LGBTQIA+ persons in the state of Texas,” the letter stated.

Recently, Abbott publicly called for “licensed professionals” and “members of the general public” to report the parents of transgender children to state authorities if the children appear to be receiving gender-affirming medical care, NBC News reported. He said that individuals who fail to report such parents could face “criminal penalties” for failing to do so.

Abbott tried something similar in 2022 when he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) tried claiming that gender-affirming care is a form of child abuse. Workers in Texas’s lead child abuse agency spoke out about the unethical secrecy, internal strife, and staff resignations caused by Abbott’s order and how his order interfered with the department’s ability to help victims of actual abuse.

Originally published here.

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