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Texas GOP platform calls homosexuality 'an abnormal lifestyle choice,' endorses trans medical care bans for young people

Chron logo Chron 5 days ago Michael Murney
© Lola Gomez/TNS

The Texas GOP approved an updated party platform at its Houston convention this weekend that contains multiple anti-LGBTQ policy stances, most notably referring to homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice" and calling for a ban of all gender-affirming medical treatments for any transgender people 21 years old or younger.  

In a section entitled “Homosexuality and Gender Issues,” the platform’s authors assert that gay people should receive “no special legal entitlements” and should not be granted any form of protected “special status for homosexual behavior." They also call for an end to any “civil or criminal penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”

Authors continue this section of the 40-page document with a proposed ban that prohibits doctors from performing any medical procedure “[f]or the purpose of attempting to affirm a person age 21 or under if their perception is inconsistent with their biological sex,” referring to gender affirmation treatments aimed at helping trans people transition to their self-identified gender.

Gender affirmation therapies are widely accepted by the top healthcare groups in the U.S. and a vast body of research shows that gender affirmation therapies yield marked improvements in trans people’s long-term mental and emotional health.  


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On the very next page, the authors then call for laws to “protect physicians from interference by the Texas Medical Board or the Texas State Board of Pharmacy” in the physician’s treatment plans or prescriptions. This section of the platform, entitled “Healthcare Independence," also contains provisions aimed at restricting both the government and private interests’ abilities to implement measures such as vaccine and mask mandates during a pandemic.  

“To see the ban on medical treatment associated with transition, and then on the next page see medical independence—to the rational observer that is a contradiction,” said Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. “But to the Republicans, those medical treatments are child abuse. So you can be opposed to child abuse and in favor of medical independence." 

The strength of Republican candidates’ stances against gender-affirmation therapies became a litmus test for the authenticity of their conservatism in midterm primary races earlier this year. During a contentious primary run for attorney general, incumbent Ken Paxton faced attacks from hardliners like U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert for not explicitly labeling gender affirmation as child abuse while in office. Within days of Gohmert’s remarks, Paxton issued a legal opinion stating that gender-affirming treatments “can legally constitute child abuse.” 

Gov. Greg Abbott, who was also facing criticism that he was a “RINO” (or Republican In Name Only) during the run-up to the March primaries, seized on Paxton’s legal opinion as a basis to direct the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families of trans youth for child abuse just days later. 

The Texas GOP’s new positions on trans healthcare and LGBT rights are among a slew of policy changes indicating a marked shift to the right, Jillson said. Authors also called for a referendum focused on Texas seceding from the U.S., declared the 2020 election fraudulent  and labeled President Joe Biden an illegitimate leader.  

“Until Republican candidates make these kinds of platform positions part of their electoral strategy and lose, I don’t think there will be much of a change,” Jillson said. “The only thing that will make the Republican party more sober and responsible is losing a couple big elections.”  

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