Texas Republicans Double Down on Anti-Trans B.S.

Texas Gov. Gregory Abbott. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

I woke up this morning with TLC’s “No Scrubs” stuck in my head, that anthem lambasting “deadbeat ass” men.

And then I open my computer to read an article about the Texas Republican Party adopting their most anti-LGBTQ+ platform yet, and it’s almost as if “No Scrubs” was a premonition.

Not that Texas Republicans lack the power and social clout of the “scrub” TLC sing about, especially not Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton, three very powerful — and very hateful — men.

No, the lines in the song that make sense in this context are, “Always talkin’ ’bout what he wants and just sits on his broke ass.”

Because Texas Republicans, just like Republicans across the country, talk tough when it comes to, say, LGBTQ+ people and issues, but get jack shit done.

There are plenty of examples of this in Texas, one of the most recent being the city of Odessa being without water for days during a heatwave where temperatures hovered around 100 degrees after a water main break. Infrastructure is a BFD, and this particular event in isolation might just seem like an unfortunate event that couldn’t be foreseen or helped, but remember 2021? The winter storm that essentially ate the state’s power grid leaving residents without power and water. Hundreds died.

In response, did the Republican-controlled state fix a power grid woefully inadequate to handle increasingly extreme weather? Of course not. Which means it will happen again. And again.

Making infrastructure climate-change resilient is super important. It’s not as headline-grabbing as, say, calling parents who accept and love their transgender kids child abusers, though.

Infrastructure upgrades also require that lawmakers believe that climate change exists and that the government should play a role in preparing for it and protecting their citizens from catastrophe. Texas Republicans do not check these boxes.

But the boxes they DO check are all included in the party’s proposed platform, including calling homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and opposing “all efforts to validate transgender identity,” according to The Advocate.

They went all-in on anti-trans stuff. According to the Texas Tribune, they declared “gender identity disorder ‘a genuine and extremely rare mental health condition,’ requiring official documents to adhere to ‘biological gender’ and allowing civil penalties and monetary compensation to ‘de-transitioners’ who have received gender-affirming surgery, which the platform calls a form of medical malpractice.”

This isn’t the first time Texas has targeted transgender people. Attorney General Paxton issued an opinion calling parents who provide gender affirming care to their kids child abusers, and Gov. Abbott directed the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate these parents. In other words, state government has already been weaponized against trans Texans. The proposed new platform would just make it worse.

Other gems in the proposed platform include calling President Biden’s win “illegitimate” and making it easier for people under age 21 to buy guns. And, yes, this is after the horrific massacre of elementary school children in Uvalde, Texas by a person under 21 who was able to easily attain guns. The majority of the country looks at this horrific event and sees yet another example of a country that values guns more than children’s lives. The takeaway by Texas Republicans, however, was that what we need are MORE guns and that we should roll out the red carpet for young people who want to buy guns.

Granted, Republicans in Texas aren’t mandated to adhere to the platform, but those who do have an advantage in primary races that often advance the most extreme candidates.

“A more aggressive party platform sends a clear message to politicians about where the base is going,” Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston told the Texas Tribune. “Donald Trump radicalized the party and accelerated the demands from the base. There simply aren’t limits now on what the base might ask for.”

But as we have seen time and time again, there definitely are limits on what Republican legislators actually do and if it involves improving the quality of life and safety of the people it serves, well, that’s definitely a “Don’t.”

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living life with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter.