With LGBT+ Pride Month in full swing across America, the Texas Republican Party has endorsed the discredited practice of “conversion therapy”.
Conversion therapy is based on the belief that an LGBT+ person can be “cured” of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Support for the widely discredited treatment was one of a staggering 24 anti-LGBT+ positions adopted at last week’s Texas Republican Convention. These positions include opposing LGBT+-inclusive hate crime laws, open trans military service and even the very existence of trans people.
Of the more than 300 party principles outlined in a document approved by representatives, the 14th makes explicit reference to conversion therapy, which is also known as “reparative therapy” or “orientation change”.
The Texas GOP explicitly condemns any law which would prevent counsellors from offering these therapies to LGBT+ youth, even though the treatment has been widely denounced.
No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to sexual orientation counselling for self-motivated youth and adults
This year states such as Hawaii and New Hampshire have joined the growing list of states banning conversion therapy.
Reacting to the news, Human Rights Campaign Southern States press secretary, Nick Morrow, said:
Fourteen states and Washington, D.C. have laws or regulations effectively banning so-called conversion therapy for minors, and several others have pending legislation that would do the same
Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Texas continue to needlessly and cruelly attack their LGBTQ residents, contrary to the will of their own constituents.
It would be great if the Texas GOP could join the rest of us in the year 2018
States that have outlawed conversion therapy include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Oregon. New York has yet to pass legislation at the statewide level prohibiting these therapies, but Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is currently fending off a political challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, signed an executive order preventing insurance agencies from covering conversion therapists.
Sadly, but predictably, backing conversion therapy was far from the only rebuke of LGBT+ people from the republicans of Texas.
The state GOP affirmed its belief in the “traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman”. They also urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott to reject the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalising same-sex marriage.
But it gets worse.
The Texas GOP stated that they "oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity".
We call upon our legislature to enact laws prohibiting the use of hormones before the age of 18 in an attempt to change gender. We believe it should be illegal to remove healthy body parts in minors in an effort to try to transition to the opposite sex.
And if that’s not bad enough, the document also references the infamous “bathroom bill”, which sought to force trans people to use the bathroom they were assigned at birth.
We call on the Texas Legislature to pass legislation to protect privacy in public schools and government buildings as allowed by Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, by ensuring multi-use facilities, including showers, changing rooms, and bathrooms, are designated for and used only by persons based on the person’s biological sex
You can read the platform in its entirety here.