Texas AG says the quiet part loud and calls LGBT+ people ‘sexual propagandists and predators’
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has declared a school’s Pride event “illegal” and referred to LGBT+ people as “predators”.
Paxton wrote a letter to the Austin Independent School District superintendent Stephanie S Elizalde to speak out against the Texas school district’s week-long Pride celebration.
He claimed the event violates state laws against teaching “human sexuality” without the explicit consent of parents. Paxton added the school district’s curriculum and lesson plans “deal head-on with sexual orientation and gender identity”, which he called “controversial and sensitive” topics.
“By hosting ‘Pride Week’, your district has, at best, undertaken a week-long instructional effort in human sexuality without parental consent,” Paxton wrote.
“Or, worse, your district is cynically pushing a week-long indoctrination of your students that not only fails to obtain parental consent, but subtly cuts parents out of the loop. Either way, you are breaking state law.”
Paxton advised Elizalde to end the event to “rectify this situation” and noted that state law allows parents to file complaints against the school district with the Texas Education Agency.
The attorney general shared pictures of the letter on Twitter and declared the “liberal” school district is “aggressively pushing LGBTQ+ views on Texas kids”. He called the inclusive event “immoral and illegal”.
Paxton then described LGBT+ people as “sexual propagandists and predators”, demanding they be held “accountable”.
Liberal school districts are aggressively pushing LGBTQ+ views on Texas Kids! All behind parents’ backs! This is immoral and illegal.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) March 23, 2022
But the school district has steadfastly stood by the event and shared its support for the LGBT+ community.
Elizalde fired back at Paxton’s letter on Twitter. The superintendent wrote: “I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks.”
I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks. https://t.co/fNGiaoNM3q
— Dr. Stephanie S. Elizalde (@AustinISDsupt) March 23, 2022
Austin Independent School District spokesperson Jason Stanford told the Washington Post that the celebration will continue despite Paxton’s efforts to shut it down.
“We’re going to react to this by doubling down on making sure our kids feel safe and celebrating Pride,” Stanford said.
He believed Paxton’s letter was not actually about parental rights. Instead, Stanford described it as a “Ken Paxton trying to score political points issue”.
Stanford explained there were confidentiality terms set in discussion circles to allow students to speak freely, but he said the school district would “never in a million years” tell students not to “tell things to their parents”.
This isn’t the first time that Ken Paxton has targeted LGBT+ community.
Paxton has faced immense backlash after he labelled gender-affirming medical care “child abuse” in a non-binding legal opinion in February. Afterwards, Republican governor Greg Abbott ordered the state’s child welfare agency to begin investigating families of trans kids involved in such practices.
On Monday (21 March), the state’s Third Court of Appeal upheld an injunction temporarily blocking officials from enforcing the governor’s directive while the case goes through the legal system.
Ken Paxton has since asked the Texas Supreme Court to overturn the ban and allow “child abuse” investigations into parents of trans kids to continue, the Texas Tribune reported.
Last week, Paxton faced fierce outrage on social media after he intentionally misgendered US assistant health secretary Dr Rachel Levine on Twitter. His post was flagged by Twitter as “hateful conduct”, but the social media platform decided to leave the tweet up with only a cautionary warning about its content.