Abbott, Greg
World Travel & Tourism Council

Greg Abbott

48th Governor of Texas

—Senior campaign adviser for Abbott’s re-election campaign, Dave Carney, quoted as saying he considers the targeting of trans youth and their families “a 75, 80% winner” for Abbott. The president of the American Psychological Association, Frank Worrell, responded to this opinion with a statement of fact, calling Abbott’s efforts against trans youth and their families: “This ill-conceived directive from the Texas governor will put at-risk children at even higher risk of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide. Gender-affirming care promotes the health and well-being of transgender youth and is provided by medical and mental health professionals, based on well-established scientific research.

—Issued a directive to Texas residents to report parents of transgender minors to authorities for child abuse if it appears those children are receiving gender-affirming medical care. The order, calling on the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to “conduct a prompt and thorough investigation” of any reported instances of minors undergoing “elective procedures for gender transitioning,” followed the release of an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that equated gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery, with child abuse. Abbott said those who fail to report instances of minors receiving gender-affirming medical care could face “criminal penalties.” The opinion ignores guidance from every major medical association in the United States, all of which support gender affirming care for transgender youth. Gender-affirming care is medically necessary and backed by decades of research. Abbott’s memo was met with widespread condemnation from healthcare providers and The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Texas Pediatric Society, who responded with a joint statement: “Evidence-based medical care for transgender and gender diverse children is a complex issue that pediatricians are uniquely qualified to provide. This directive undermines the physician-patient-family relationship and will cause undue harm to children in Texas. Local media also responded with facts from healthcare providers and local Texans about the danger of the director. Five Texas district attorneys 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.

Falsely described a pair of LGBTQ memoirs as “pornography” in an effort to have the books removed from school libraries. Abbott’s letter to the Texas Education Agency, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and State Board of Education was sparse in details about what he considered inappropriate but he cited the graphic novel Gender Queer: a Memoir by Maia Kobabe, and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

Signed a bill into law that bans transgender students from playing on public school sports teams that align with their gender identity. Previously student athletes had been required to play on teams that aligned with the sex listed on their birth certificates, but they could obtain court orders allowing them to change the gender markers and participate in interscholastic athletics. Due to the new law that option is no longer available.

—Took down a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services web page that offered resources to LGBTQ youth including information to children in the foster care system, a suicide prevention hotline, LGBTQ legal services, and questions about defining gender and sexual identity. The removal by the department followed a complaint by a challenger to Abbott in the GOP primary. THE DFPS commissioner and council are appointed by the governor.

—Issued a recommendation to the Texas state Board of Social Work Examiners that they remove protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Following that recommendation, and without an opportunity for public comment, the board voted to adopt the recommendation and consequently Texas social workers can now turn away LGBTQ clients and those with a disability. “There is always a real possibility that trans Texans specifically could be turned away or dissuaded from accessing the medical resources they need. At a time when many in our community require services to make it through an isolating pandemic, attempting to grant providers a license to discriminate is abhorrent,” said Emmett Schelling, Executive Director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas.

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.