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‘The UN Can Go Pound Sand’: Texas Governor Dismisses LGBTQ Human Rights Concerns

In a bold move that has ignited conversations nationwide, Texas Governor Greg Abbott remains steadfast in the face of mounting criticism regarding the state’s recent legislative actions targeting LGBTQ individuals.

International Criticism Dismissed

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This weekend, Abbott dismissed allegations that these new laws infringe upon federal and international human rights standards.

UN’s Concern

Credit: DepositPhotos – Flag of United Nations (UN) with natural material creases as a background — Photo by Cronislaw

The controversy reached new heights following a letter addressed to the United Nations last month, which accused the governor and other state officials of violating the rights of LGBTQ Texans through a series of administrative and legislative measures.

Abbott’s Blunt Response

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Governor Abbott’s response to the international community was unapologetically blunt. 

“The UN can go pound sand,” he declared on X.

History of Defiance

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This isn’t the first time Abbott has employed such a dismissive tone towards international critique. 

In 2021, he had a similar message for the UN after Secretary-General António Guterres suggested that Texas would need to reduce its dependence on oil and gas to ensure its prosperity through 2050.

LGBTQ Rights Groups React

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The criticism from LGBTQ rights groups has been equally forceful. 

In January, four major organizations, including Equality Texas, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and the ACLU of Texas, united in a joint letter to the UN.

Allegations of Targeting

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They detailed allegations against Texas leaders for intentionally targeting the LGBTQ community during the state’s last legislative session.

Legislation in Numbers

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According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Texas lawmakers introduced at least 55 bills aimed at LGBTQ individuals in 2023 alone, representing about 10 percent of such legislation nationwide.

Specific Laws Criticized

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The focus of the groups’ appeal to the UN centers on seven specific bills Governor Abbott signed into law last year.

Impact on Lives

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These laws include controversial measures such as banning gender-affirming healthcare for minors and imposing strict limitations on the participation of transgender athletes in school sports.

Call to UN

Credit: DepositPhotos – Fundy National Park, NB, Canada – June 30, 2020: United Nations flag flying in the wind on a flagpole against a partially cloudy sky. — Photo by madsci

Taken individually, the seven pieces of legislation discussed in this submission will disrupt the lives of LGBTQIA+ people of various ages and backgrounds.

Systemic Attack Highlighted

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“Put together, the Bills are a systemic attack on the fundamental rights, dignities, and identities of LGBTQIA+ persons that opens the gates for discrimination by both public and private actors,” the letter stated.

State Actions Preceding Legislation

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This legislative agenda has not only drawn ire from LGBTQ advocates but also prompted severe criticism for actions leading up to the legislative session.

Investigation Orders

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Notably, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion in 2022 equating gender-affirming medical care with child abuse. 

Following this, Governor Abbott ordered state agencies to investigate the parents of transgender minors for child abuse.

UN and Biden Administration Criticized

Credits: Depositphotos – (NEW) President of the United States Joe Biden delivers remarks on a possible default of the debt in a speech at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York. May 10, 2023. — Photo by thenews2.com

The UN has previously voiced its concerns over the surge in anti-LGBTQ legislation within the United States. 

Furthermore, the letter from LGBTQ rights groups also criticizes the Biden administration’s handling of anti-LGBTQ laws in Texas and elsewhere, accusing it of violating international commitments by failing to hold states accountable.

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