Photo credit: Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune
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Choose from the complete list of GLAAD Accountability Profiles:
51st Attorney General of Texas
- Updated: April 21, 2023
—Stands accused of creating a hostile workplace for LGBTQ employees at the Texas Attorney General’s office in a letter by a departing lawyer, as a result of Paxton’s “personal anti-LGBTQIA+ ideology.” The letter notes Paxton’s legal opinion describing gender-affirming health care for transgender children as “child abuse.”
—Says an annual Pride Week celebration in Austin schools is breaking state law. Each year the Austin Independent School District hosts a series of events to highlight “the district’s commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment” for LGBTQ students. In a letter to the superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, Paxton wrote, “The Texas legislature has made it clear that when it comes to sex education, parents—not school districts—are in charge.” “Liberal school districts are aggressively pushing LGBTQ+ views on Texas Kids! All behind parents’ backs! This is immoral and illegal. I will work with and for parents to hold deceptive sexual propagandists and predators accountable,” he wrote in a tweet regarding the letter. The Austin’s school district said the events will continue despite Paxton’s attack.
Liberal school districts are aggressively pushing LGBTQ+ views on Texas Kids! All behind parents’ backs! This is immoral and illegal.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) March 23, 2022
—Repeatedly violated Twitter rules about hateful conduct with tweets about misgendering a transgender woman athlete, misgendering four star admiral Rachel Levine who is United States assistant secretary for health and calling the misgendering “Big Tech censorship,” and again misgendering Levine.
—Baselessly claimed in an opinion memo that providing gender-affirming medical care to minors is child abuse under Texas law. Medical care such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries “must be halted,” he said in a statement. Dr. Walter Bouman, MD, PhD, President of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the world’s leading authority on trans medical care, responded: “Targeting trans youth, their parents, and their health care providers for political gain is unconscionable. We strongly denounce this alarmist and misguided opinion which could obstruct access to medically necessary care. It is yet another example of the profound misunderstanding of the conditions under which transgender people live, and a profound lack of compassion for the need for responsible medical care that helps trans people, including trans youth, to thrive and contribute to society.” Paxton’s opinion was met with widespread condemnation from healthcare providers, local media, and district attorneys who said they would ignore the guidance as it is unconstitutional, disturbing and an “egregious invasion of privacy.” On March 3rd, the Travis County District Court ordered the state to halt an investigation into a trans child’s parent, who works for the Department of Family and Protective Services.
—Sued the Biden administration over guidance designed to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace. The guidance, released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, requires that transgender employees must be permitted to dress in a manner that corresponds to their gender identity and be allowed to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers that correspond to their gender identity. In the suit, Paxton writes in a statement that the guidance is “unlawful” and “an extreme federal overreach.” The EEOC’s guidance comes as a result of the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County in which the court determined that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) includes employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. Paxton invoked a false libel against transgender people by insisting that “this illegal guidance puts many women and children at risk.”
—Refused to defend a Texas commission after it disciplined a justice of the peace for “casting doubt on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge.” Waco judge Dianne Hensley officiates marriages between men and women but, in contravention of the landmark 2015 Obergefell decision of the United States Supreme Court, refuses to perform marriages for same-sex couples, and received a public warning from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, a state agency charged with disciplining Texas judges. Hensley sued the commission for religious discrimination, and Paxton, despite being charged with defending state agencies when they are challenged in court, declined to defend the commission.
The GLAAD Accountability Project catalogs anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions of politicians, commentators, organization heads, religious leaders, and legal figures, who have used their platforms, influence and power to spread misinformation and harm LGBTQ people.