The Texas Republican Party held its 2022 convention in Houston June 16–18, their first in-person convention since the pandemic began. The 40-page platform they adopted leaves no doubt that Texas Republicans are still in the party of Trump.
The approved GOP platform declares Joe Biden’s 2020 election illegitimate, rebukes the ten Senate Republicans involved in bipartisan talks on gun legislation, requires students to “learn about the humanity of the preborn child,” and calls homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice.”
The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), a conservative LGBTQ group, was again barred from setting up a booth at the convention, but it did have delegates in attendance. And for local LCR Houston members, the anti-LGBTQ language provoked an immediate response.
“The efforts of a vocal and organized minority saw inflammatory, hurtful, and unnecessary language added to our Party’s platform, the addition of which neither proclaims policy intentions nor helps build diverse coalitions; its only aim is to satisfy the zealotry of a few. The further unwillingness of many state Party leaders, including Chairman Matt Rinaldi, to seek understanding of Log Cabin Republicans’ values and principles is infuriating,” LCR Houston said in a June 20 statement. “Despite the intolerance shown to us, Log Cabin Republican members attending the convention as delegates represented LCR with honor and dignity. This weekend and every day we demonstrate our commitment to individual liberty, limited government, fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, and other foundational principles held by the Republican Party. We have long shown our dedication to electing Republicans at all levels by hosting events for candidates, volunteering for campaigns, and swaying the hearts and minds of those fed up with the relentless and intentional Democratic destruction of our country. The two events the local and state chapters of LCR held at the Texas GOP Convention were well attended, and passionate support was relayed to us from delegates and elected officials from rural and urban counties alike.”
LCR Houston told OutSmart it stands by its statement and declined to further comment.
At the 2018 Texas GOP State Convention, the Houston LCR chapter led a successful effort, with the support of other Republican allies and fellow LCR chapters across the state, to change the official party platform by removing all blanket condemnations of people simply for being gay. As a result of that success, the Houston chapter and the LCR Texas Board were recognized by the national organization of Log Cabin Republicans with an award at their annual Spirit of Lincoln Dinner held in Washington, DC in October of 2018.
It’s not clear if any effort was made this year to challenge the anti-LGBTQ language in the Texas GOP’s 2022 platform.
Despite LCR Texas’ mission to represent LGBTQ and ally Republicans who “support equality under the law for all,” the statewide chapter has been vocal in supporting Texas’ anti-trans bills aimed at denying medical care and school sports participation for trans youth.
During the 2021 Texas legislative session, the Dallas Voice reported that members of LCR Texas testified in support of House Bill 4042, which would ban trans students from participating in sports that align with their gender identities. The organization also issued a statement in support of HB 4042 and its companion bill, SB 29.
“Log Cabin Republicans of Texas supports House Bill 4042 and its companion Bill 29. While we may have reservations about the bills’ lack of nuance allowing schools latitude to address very unique situations, and about the issues it leaves unresolved that will certainly arise if this bill becomes law, we nonetheless believe this law takes a necessary step in protecting interscholastic athletic activities that are currently segregated by biological sex for the benefit and safety of both boys and girls.”
The 2022 Texas Republican Party platform also calls for a ban on gender-affirming care, the distribution of puberty blockers or hormone-suppressing therapies, and gender-affirming surgeries for anyone under the age of 21. It then went even further by opposing “all efforts to validate transgender identity.”
In April, LCR Texas said Governor Greg Abbott was right to “halt the administration of puberty blockers, hormone therapy treatment, and other treatments” for minors experiencing gender dysphoria, according to the Dallas Morning News.
LCR Texas describes trans people as “a small number of human beings, who in the past have been subject to harsh ostracization and unfair treatment.” The group’s board added that trans youth “deserve compassion and non-judgmental support, and all the available counseling and medical help available, short of irreversible medical procedures.”
In an interview with NBC news, Ricardo Martinez, the CEO of Equality Texas, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, called the Texas Republican Party’s platform “extreme, but not necessarily new.”
“I’m glad that they’re being really explicit in their words, because these words now match their actions,” Martinez said. “This is not surprising, but it certainly is painful for LGBTQ people who live here in Texas.”
This article appears in the July 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.