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Texas Republicans Introduce 17 Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

Texas GOP State Reps. Cole Hefner (L) and Jared Patterson
Texas GOP State Reps. Cole Hefner (L) and Jared Patterson.

Members of the Texas GOP wasted no time introducing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on the first day submissions for the next legislative session were accepted.

Despite Republicans being resoundingly rejected for their extreme positions against individual freedoms and tolerance of LGBTQ+ communities during the midterm elections, Texas Republicans are doubling down on their war on LGBTQ+ people.

On Monday, Texas Republicans introduced 17 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The legislation included bans on access to gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ topics in schools, participation on college athletic teams, and even one bill that would criminalize drag performances.

Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Democrat representing the Dallas area, criticized his colleagues on Twitter after discovering their slate of bills.

"On the first day of #TXLege bill filing, ALREADY 17 bills targeting #LGBT Texans (including bans on gender-affirming care, college sports participation, LGBT-inclusive education, & one bill criminalizing drag shows.) Buckle up & get ready for the fight. #YallMeansAll," he tweeted Monday evening.

As of Monday, Texas legislators could file new bills for the upcoming legislative session starting in January.

Republicans went straight for marginalized communities.

House Bill 672, a bill authored by Republican Rep. Cole Hefner, would revise existing state laws to criminalize "administering or supplying...a puberty suppression prescription drug or cross-sex hormone to a child...for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment," Chronreports.

Suppose a transgender or an intersex child undergoes surgery or another medical procedure to transition to a new gender. In that case, it will be considered felony child abandonment by guardians and physicians under the proposed law. The Texas Penal Code calls for a sentence between 180 days and 20 years of confinement for those found guilty of abandoning or endangering a child, depending on how the crime is charged.

Another GOP-proposed bill targeting drag performance does not try to hide the submission's intolerant nature.

Brought forward by Republican Rep. Jared Patterson, whose district includes the Dallas area, House Bill 643 seeks to include drag as sexually oriented material by redefining drag performances as "a performance in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer's gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip syncs, dances or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment."

The change would take advantage of existing Texas laws that criminalize any bar hosting transgender performers while admitting children, even if the children aren't attending the performance. It conflates trans people and drag queens.

Legal experts say the law would make it a crime for transgender people to perform at any venue.

Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered investigations into families who provide gender-affirming care for their children in February, based on a nonbinding legal opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton that allowing kids access to such care is child abuse.

After the Supreme Court's June decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in its Dobbs decision, Paxton said that if Texas passes a law banning same-sex intimacy, he would be "willing and able" to defend it in court.

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