The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) removed LGBTQ youth resources from its government-run site after Governor Greg Abbott was criticized by a primary opponent.
In August, Republican gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines released a video on Twitter blasting the DFPS for allegedly “promoting transgender sexual policies to Texas youth” through a section titled “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” on the Texas Youth Connection (TYC) website. Huffines is challenging Abbott in next year’s election.
“The website was temporarily disabled several weeks ago for a review of its content,” a DFPS spokesperson told Gay City News. “The review is ongoing.”
The Houston Chronicle reports that Huffines’ criticism sparked internal discussions about the page, resulting in the agency deleting the resources from the site.
“These are not Texas values, these are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values,” Huffines said in the video. “That’s why we need a change. that’s what my campaign is about.”
— Don Huffines (@DonHuffines) August 31, 2021
Before taking down the page, the agency had included resources from the LGBTQ advocacy groups Lambda Legal, PFLAG, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and a suicide hotline, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Ricardo Martinez, chief executive of the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas, said erasing this information from the site is especially harmful to LGBTQ youth.
“State agencies know that LGBTQ+ kids are overrepresented in foster care, and they know they face truly staggering discrimination and abuse,” Martinez said in a written statement to Gay City News. “The state is responsible for these kids’ lives, yet it actively took away a resource for them when they are in crisis.”
Martinez added, “Again and again this year, we are simply asking that these kids’ lives not be politicized.”
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