Texas company removes webpages with assets for LGBTQ youths

Texas officers eliminated two webpages in late August that supplied assets for LGBTQ youths — together with a hyperlink to a suicide prevention hotline — just a few hours after criticism from one in all Gov. Greg Abbott’s Republican main challengers.

The candidate, Don Huffines, who owns an actual property growth firm within the Dallas space, wrote Aug. 31 on Twitter: “It’s offensive to see @GregAbbott_TX use our tax {dollars} to advocate for transgender ideology. This should finish.”

He described a webpage on the Division of Household and Protecting Providers’ web site titled “gender identification and sexual orientation.” 

“They’re speaking about serving to ‘empower and have fun lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allied,’ nonheterosexual conduct, and it goes on and on,” Huffines mentioned in a video. “I imply, actually? That is Texas. These should not Texas values. These should not Republican Get together values. However these are clearly Greg Abbott’s values.”

In a separate tweet the identical afternoon, Huffines linked to a webpage for Texas Youth Connection, a program run by the Division of Household and Protecting Providers, which included a hyperlink to the Trevor Undertaking, a nonprofit LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and disaster intervention group, and different LGBTQ rights teams.

“That is the webpage the place @GregAbbott_TX’s political appointees are selling transgender ideology,” Huffines wrote.

A number of hours later, each pages had been eliminated.

“The Texas Youth Connection web site has been quickly disabled for a complete evaluate of its content material,” a message on the web site says. “That is being performed to make sure that its info, assets, and referrals are present.”

It supplies hyperlinks to the Texas Youth Helpline and the division’s Preparation for Grownup Residing program. The web page on sexual orientation and gender identification now exhibits an error message.

Patrick Crimmins, the director of communications for the Division of Household and Protecting Providers, mentioned in an e mail Tuesday that the evaluate of the webpages “remains to be ongoing” and wouldn’t present additional remark about why the pages have been eliminated.

Abbott’s workplace has not returned a request for remark.

The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that emails obtained by way of a public information request present that company officers mentioned eradicating the gender identification and sexual orientation webpage in response to Huffines’ tweet. 

Simply 13 minutes after Huffines’ video went up, Marissa Gonzales, the division’s media relations director, emailed a hyperlink to Crimmins with the topic line “Don Huffines video accusing Gov/DFPS of pushing liberal transgender agenda,” the Chronicle reported. She wrote within the physique of the e-mail: “FYI. That is beginning to blow up on Twitter.”

Crimmins emailed Darrell Azar, the division’s internet and artistic providers director. He requested who runs the web page and wrote, “Darrell — please word we might must take that web page down, or by some means revise content material,” in accordance with the Chronicle.

Azar responded that the webpage got here from the division’s Preparation for Grownup Residing program, which helps older teenagers positioned in foster care by the state. He wrote that the content material Huffines criticized is “just a few years previous” however that the grownup dwelling program has posted “content material associated to LGBTQ for so long as I can keep in mind,” in accordance with the Chronicle. 

Huffines took credit score for the pages’ elimination in a tweet Tuesday.

“Greg Abbott was utilizing taxpayer {dollars} to advocate for transgender ideology and the Human Rights Marketing campaign,” he wrote. “Our marketing campaign made him cease.”

Many advocates spoke out towards the pages’ elimination in August, however much more folks, together with elected officers, condemned the choice in response to the Chronicle’s article.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who was secretary of housing and concrete growth within the Obama administration, mentioned the choice to take away the webpages was “disgusting.”

“Greg Abbott is so afraid of dropping his main, he’s sabotaging an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention hotline to kowtow his extremist base,” he wrote Tuesday.

Ricardo Martinez, the CEO of the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas, mentioned in an emailed assertion that LGBTQ kids are overrepresented in foster care and “face actually staggering discrimination and abuse.” 

“The state is liable for these youngsters’ lives, but it actively took away a useful resource for them when they’re in disaster,” he mentioned. “What’s worse, this was performed at the beginning of Suicide Prevention and Consciousness Month. LGBTQ youth who’ve been in foster care report 3 times larger chance of making an attempt suicide up to now 12 months (in accordance with a Trevor Undertaking analysis temporary). Time and again this 12 months, we’re merely asking that these youngsters’ lives not be politicized.”

Texas has thought-about greater than 50 payments this 12 months that concentrate on LGBTQ youths, significantly transgender youths, in accordance with Equality Texas.

Whereas advocates have defeated all the payments to date, the Legislature lately started a 3rd particular legislative session — the fourth legislative session total this 12 months — and it’s contemplating a variety of anti-transgender payments once more. 

Advocates have mentioned the rhetoric within the payments has a unfavourable impact on the psychological well being of LGBTQ youths statewide.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 30, disaster calls from LGBTQ younger folks in Texas elevated by 150 % in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months, in accordance with knowledge shared final week by the Trevor Undertaking. 

If you happen to or somebody is in disaster, name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or textual content HOME to 741741 to succeed in a educated counselor on the Disaster Textual content Line. It’s also possible to go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/assets for an inventory of further help networks.

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