Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has already signed some of the most outrageous and offensive anti-inclusion laws in existence over the past year, from approving a ban on discussions of race and racism in schools to restricting medical treatment for transgender children to endorsing a law allowing social workers to turn away LGBTQ and disabled clients in need of assistance. But it appears all that wasn’t enough to help him maintain his conservative reputation in the state.
Republican Don Huffines, a conservative activist who is challenging Gov. Abbott for his seat in next year’s election, is now claiming that Abbott is using Texas tax dollars to “advocate for transgender ideology.”
As a result of those claims, the state of Texas has officially taken down all its LGBTQ youth resource web pages and information areas.
The Hill’s Lauren Vella reported that in his recent public appearances, Huffines has begun saying that the “state’s Department of Family and Protective Services was publishing ‘disturbing information about our youth’” under Abbott’s watch.
In late August, Huffines tweeted, “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 Texas youth. They’re talking about helping empower and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, non-heterosexual behavior.”
“These are not Texas values,” Huffines said. “These are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values.”
According to Vella, within hours of Huffines making his claims, “the Texas Department of Family and Protective services took down the page. In its place, a message on the website states that the previous content is now under review.”
The message now posted on the site reads: “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.”
Besides containing housing information, the previous version of the site included online resources to help LGBTQ youth. In addition to increased risks of depression and suicide, homelessness is a leading problem for LGBTQ youth in Texas and across the country. The True Colors Foundation estimates that up to 40% of the 4.2 million youth experiencing homelessness in the country identify as LGBTQ.
The Hill has reached out to the department and Abbott’s office for comment, but neither the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the office for Gov. Greg Abbott have yet to publicly comment on when these essential youth resources might be available again.