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Protestors gather on Abbott’s doorstep to rally against order

At times, Texas state troopers had to physically separate pro-Trans protestors and Infowars host Owen Shroyer



Trans Kids Cry for Help Rally - Austin Texas on March 13, 2022 (Screenshot/YouTube)

AUSTIN – Over 200 people gathered on the steps of the Texas Governor’s Mansion Sunday to protest an order from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that called on state agencies to investigate gender-affirming care as “child abuse.”

The rally was dubbed “Trans Kids Cry for HELP!” – with organizers saying their goal was to “make sure trans kids, their families, and the trans community is heard,” according to a Facebook post

Last month, Abbott issued a directive that required the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate gender-affirming care as “child abuse,” while also mandating licensed professionals and general citizens report the procedures or face “criminal penalties.” A spokesperson for the Texas DFPS confirmed to CNN last week that the state has opened nine alleged “abuse” investigations of minors receiving gender-affirming care.

Abbott’s order came after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a formal opinion concluding that performing certain “sex-change” procedures on children is “child abuse” under Texas law.

“[Actions from Abbott and Paxton] threatens to take trans kids away from loving and supportive parents in order to force them to detransition in the foster care system,” read the post. “Additionally, this will impact the trans kids already in the states care by removing any potential support they had within the system and further traumatizing them.”

On Friday, a Texas judge, Amy Clark Meachum, blocked the DFPS from investigating parents and families of Trans youth, saying that there was a “substantial likelihood” that the plaintiffs challenging the law would succeed as the case plays out. Meachum ruled that Abbott’s order is “beyond the scope of his authority and unconstitutional,” adding the plaintiffs would be harmed if it was allowed to remain in effect.

However, Paxton announced on Twitter that he filed an appeal, freezing the judge’s order. “Much-needed investigations proceed as they should,” he said. “This fight will continue up to the Supreme Court. I’m ready for it.”

The Dallas Morning News reported that children wore Trans and rainbow Pride flags as capes, while adults held signs that said “this teacher will not comply” and “Abbott is a useless clownish bully.” According to the paper, organizers said the rally was purposefully joyful, meant to oppose the “terror and uncertainty” of Abbott’s recent directive. 

Author and nonbinary activist Alok Vaid-Menon, from College Station, Texas, told the audience to turn toward each other for support, the Morning News reported. 

“The reason that they hunt us is because we love. It’s not because we’re insufficient. It’s not because we’re broken. It’s not because we’re faulty,” Vaid-Menon said. “It’s because we template a form of loving looking and living that it’s so revolutionary, transcendent, miraculous, spectacular.”

“The only way they can relate is by disappearing us from the face of this earth and yet we still are here. We remain here, and we’ve been here century after century, decade after decade, policy after policy. We remain here and why? Why do we remain here because we love them. More than they could ever hate us,” Vaid-Menon added.

The Blade attempts to reach Gov. Abbott’s office for comment were not immediately successful.

The newspaper also reported that “a half-dozen individuals” from Alex Jones’ Infowars, a far-right conspiracy website with a history of anti-LGBTQ+ speech, attempted to grab attention at the rally. At times, state troopers had to physically separate pro-Trans protestors and Infowars host Owen Shroyer, who was charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Texas, specifically Abbott and Paxton, has received nationwide condemnation from Democrats, LGBTQ+ advocates and corporations over its new gender-affirming care policy.

Trans Kids Cry for Help Rally – Texas:



West Texas A&M University president cancels student drag show

Students and First Amendment lawyers say Wendler’s portrayal of drag shows is off base and the cancellation violates free-speech rights



West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler (Screenshot/YouTube WTAM Channel)

By Kate McGee | CANYON, Tx. – West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler is drawing ire for canceling a student drag show, arguing that such performances degrade women and are “derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny.”

Students and First Amendment lawyers reject those assertions, calling his comments a mischaracterization of the art form. They also argue that the cancellation violates student’s constitutional rights and a state law that broadly protects free speech on college campuses, potentially setting the university up for a lawsuit.

“Not only is this a gross and abhorrent comparison of two completely different topics, but it is also an extremely distorted and incorrect definition of drag as a culture and form of performance art,” students wrote in an online petition condemning Wendler’s letter and urging him to reinstate the show.

Students plan to protest every day this week on the campus in the small West Texas city of Canyon, according to a social media post by the Open and Affirming Congregations of the Texas Panhandle.

“Drag is not dangerous or discriminatory, it is a celebration and expression of individuals,” student Signe Elder said in a statement. “Amidst the current climate of growing anti-trans and anti-drag rhetoric, we believe that it is important now more than ever to stand together and be heard.”

Elder is part of a group of students who have organized under the name Buffs for Drag to protest Wendler’s actions.

Drag shows frequently feature men dressing as women in exaggerated styles and have been a mainstay in the LGBTQ community for decades. Drag performers say their work is an expression of queer joy — and a form of constitutionally protected speech about societal gender norms.

But Wendler said drag shows “stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood” in a Monday letter that was first obtained by Amarillo news site Wendler said the drag show was organized to raise money for The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that works to reduce suicides in the LGBTQ community. Wendler noted that it is a “noble cause” but argued the shows would be considered an act of workplace prejudice because they make fun of women.

“Forward-thinking women and men have worked together for nearly two centuries to eliminate sexism,” Wendler wrote. “Women have fought valiantly, seeking equality in the voting booth, marketplace and court of public opinion. No one should claim a right to contribute to women’s suffering via a slapstick sideshow that erodes the worth of women.”

His comments and decision to cancel the campus drag show come amid surging uproar over the lively entertainment as far-right extremist groups have recruited conservatives to protest the events, claiming that drag performances are sexualizing kids.

Republican Texas lawmakers have also homed in on the performances with a handful of bills that would regulate or restrict drag shows, including some legislation that would classify any venue that hosts a drag show as a sexually oriented business, regardless of the show’s content. On Thursday, a Senate committee will debate a scaled-back bill that would impose a $10,000 fine on business owners who host drag shows in front of children — if those performances are sexually oriented. The bill defines a sexually oriented performance as one in which someone is naked or in drag and “appeals to the prurient interest in sex.”

Rachel Hill, government affairs director for LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas, said drag doesn’t mock women. Instead, she said, it’s an art form that allows performers to explore their gender expression and take back power from what she said can be stifling gender norms.

“Drag has always been a way for people who don’t easily fit into the gender binary to embrace different facets of themselves,” Hill said in a statement to The Texas Tribune. “Womanhood comes in all shapes and sizes and is what we make of it. That’s what makes drag so powerful.”

West Texas A&M student groups were organizing the drag show, called “A Fool’s Drag Race,” for months. The LGBTQ student group Spectrum advertised the show on its Instagram page, encouraging people to sign up to perform.

Wendler argued in his letter that the West Texas A&M drag show goes against the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s purpose, saying it’s inappropriate even if drag shows are not illegal.

A lawyer for the national campus free speech group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression rejected that argument as “nonsense.”

“The only prejudice in play here is his,” said lawyer Alex Morey, arguing that Wendler has violated state and federal law by canceling the show.

In a statement to The Texas Tribune, Morey said that performances on campus such as drag shows are protected by the First Amendment.

“By unilaterally canceling the event because he personally disapproves of the views it might express, WTAMU’s president appears to have violated both his constitutional obligations and state law,” Morey said. “It’s really surprising how open he is about knowingly violating the law, especially because government officials who violate clearly established First Amendment law will not retain qualified immunity and can be held personally liable for monetary damages.”

The students who started the petition also accused Wendler of violating university policy, which states the school can’t deny student groups any benefits “on the basis of a political, religious, philosophical, ideological, or academic viewpoint expressed by the organization or any expressive activities of the organization.”

In 2019, Texas lawmakers passed a law that required universities to allow any person to engage in free-speech activities on campuses. The law passed with broad bipartisan support.

A West Texas A&M spokesperson said Tuesday morning that Wendler did not have any further comments. The Texas A&M University System, which oversees West Texas A&M, also declined to comment.

Last year, Texas A&M University in College Station drew criticism from students when the office of student affairs announced it would no longer sponsor Draggieland, the annual drag show competition that started in 2020. Students held the performance last year after raising money through private donations. This year’s event is scheduled for April 6.

Alex Nguyen contributed to this story.

Disclosure: Equality Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University System and West Texas A&M University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.


Kate McGee’s staff photo

Kate McGee covers higher education for The Texas Tribune. She joined the Tribune in October 2020 after nearly a decade as a reporter at public radio stations across the country, including in Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Austin; Reno, Nevada; and New York. Kate was born in New York City and raised primarily in New Jersey. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University. Her work has appeared on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “Here and Now,” and “The Takeaway.”

The preceding article was previously published by The Texas Tribune and is republished by permission.


The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. 

Quality journalism doesn’t come free

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn’t cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support.

Donation Link Here

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Texas anti-drag protest included Log Cabin Republicans & guns

The anti-LGBTQ+ groups shouted out homophobic slurs “pedophile!” & “groomer!”  Some among the far-right extremists also open-carrying firearms



Anti-drag protestors including Log Cabin Republicans in San Antonio, Texas (Screenshot/Twitter)

SAN ANTONIO – A holiday drag show event at the historic Aztec Theatre in downtown San Antonio Tuesday night was protested against by far-right extremists led by the Texas Freedom Force and conservative groups including the San Antonio Family Association and the LGBTQ+ political group Log Cabin Republicans of San Antonio among the demonstrators.

The protest also included pro-LGBTQ+ groups and individuals which, according to the San Antonio Report and a spokesperson for the San Antonio Police Department confirmed to the Blade, outnumbered the anti-LGBTQ+ protestors in an approximate 3:1 ratio.

The show, “A Drag Queen Christmas,” features at least one reference to alcohol, but does not include any nudity or sexually explicit acts, according to promotional material and videos of previous performances posted online, the newspaper also reported.

The protest remained peaceful although police were extra watchful as both sides had individuals open carrying long rifles and sidearms.

Armed pro-LGBTQ protestors outside the Aztec Theatre in downtown San Antonio
(Video Screenshot/Twitter)

The crowd of LGBTQ community members and their allies grew to more than 150 people as the evening progressed the San Antonio Reporter noted, playing music, dancing and chanting to drown out those who massed across the street to protest the show.

A handful of armed people, dressed in all black with their faces mostly covered, stood on the pro-LGBTQ community side with rainbow scarves tied to their tactical gear.

The anti-LGBTQ+ groups shouted out homophobic slurs “pedophile!” and “groomer!”  Some among the far-right extremists led by the Texas Freedom Force present were also open-carrying firearms.

City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez (D2) and Councilwoman Teri Castillo (D5) turned up to support the pro-LGBTQ group. Earlier in the day, McKee-Rodriguez, the first openly gay Black man to win a City Council seat, told the San Antonio Report that counterprotesters should “focus on [what we] hope to say in a protest — and it’s that we are equally as deserving to be in this space as anybody else. And you can’t intimidate us away from that.”

Police Chief William McManus told the San Antonio Report earlier Tuesday that the department had spoken with a representative of This Is Texas Freedom Force.

“They have committed that … we won’t have any problems from them,” he said.

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ACLU asks investigation of Texas school districts anti-trans policies

Frisco ISD’s new bathroom policy & Keller ISD’s ban on books referencing gender violate federal rules prohibiting sex-based discrimination



The ACLU of Texas is calling for federal civil rights investigations into the Keller and Frisco school districts for policies they say discriminate against transgender students. (Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune)

By Brian Lopez | DALLAS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is calling for civil rights investigations into two North Texas school districts over recently implemented anti-transgender policies.

The ACLU, which filed the complaints last week, wants the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate the Frisco Independent School District for passing a policy on Nov. 14 requiring students to use bathrooms that align with their gender assigned at birth. The district said it would make accommodations for students who ask to use a private restroom.

The ACLU said Frisco’s policy would allow the district to “challenge or second-guess students’ official birth certificates.”

“It is deeply invasive and unlawful for school administrators to interrogate students’ private medical information in this way,” the ACLU said in a letter to the Department of Education. “School districts have no right to question students’ sexual characteristics such as genitalia, hormones, internal anatomy, or chromosomes.”

The ACLU also wants an investigation into the Keller Independent School District, which earlier this month passed a ban on all books that depict or reference transgender and nonbinary people.

“The policy attempts to erase the existence of transgender and non-binary individuals,” the ACLU’s letter said.

Keller ISD’s anti-transgender policy came about six months after three conservative school board members were elected onto the seven-member board. The new members, all of whom received large donations from a Christian political action committee, campaigned on issues like banning books about LGBTQ experiences from school libraries and banning critical race theory, a college-level field of study that explores the idea that racism is embedded in institutions and legal systems.

Public education advocates and Texas teachers have largely said the discipline is not part of the curriculum in Texas public schools but it has become a shorthand for conservative groups to criticize how history and current events are taught with regard to race.

The ACLU claims that Frisco and Keller’s policies violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school that receives federal funding.

Frisco and Keller are the latest North Texas school districts to have civil rights complaints lodged against them. Earlier this year, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a similar civil rights complaint against the Carroll Independent School District, based in Southlake, for failing to protect students from discrimination based on their race, sex or gender identity.

Southlake, located between Dallas and Fort Worth, came into the spotlight three years ago after a viral video of white high school students chanting a racist slur prompted community members to share stories of harassment, NBC News reported.

Neither Keller ISD nor Frisco ISD immediately responded to a request for comment.


Brian Lopez’s staff photo

Brian Lopez is the Public Education Reporter for The Texas Tribune. He joined the Tribune in August 2021 after a covering local government at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a little over a year. The Star-Telegram was his first gig after graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in May 2020 where he worked for the student-run newspaper The Shorthorn. When not on the job, he’s either watching or playing soccer.

The preceding article was previously published by The Texas Tribune and is republished by permission.


The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. 

Quality journalism doesn’t come free

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn’t cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support.

Donation Link Here

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Texas Drag Bingo Night sees armed protestors engage one another

“It’s no different than someone dressed up like a superhero at a comic convention or someone who puts on a Halloween costume”



Anti-LGBTQ activist outside church drag bingo event in Katy, Texas (Screenshot/YouTube KHOU CBS 11)

KATY, Tx. – The First Christian Church on Morton Ranch Road located in the suburban Houston, Texas metropolitan area was sponsoring an event to raise money for a clothing drive for Trans youth this past Saturday evening.

Billed as a Drag Bingo Night the event was advertised on social media platforms which drew the attention of anti-LGBTQ activists and extremists.

KPRC-TV Click2Houston reported that the opposing groups of anti-LGBTQ+ and groups in support of the LGBTQ+ community verbally confronted each other in heated arguments that were separated by Katy Police and the Harris County Sheriff’s office.

Local CBS affiliate KHOU 11 reported that the heavily armed law enforcement officers formed a line in the median in an effort to keep the two sides separate. As the crowds grew bigger and bigger, more officers arrived.

Cesar Franco, who was with an anti-LGBTQ+ protest group who said “sexualizing and child-grooming kids by exposing them to drag culture is an abomination!” Founder of Urban Conservatives of America, Jonathan McCullough said: “We are out here to push back on things that society knows is wrong. They are having an event, welcoming children to drag queen bingo hour. This is unacceptable.”

There was pushback KHOU CBS 11 noting that across the street, counter-protesters had a different message.

“That is nonsense, because drag in itself is just a costume,” said one person supporting the event. “It’s no different than someone dressed up like a superhero at a comic convention or someone who puts on a Halloween costume.”

Problematically for law enforcement was that both sides had heavily armed people not wanting to back down. Each side spent much of the afternoon yelling at each other with megaphones.

Despite the chaos, a pastor told KHOU 11 the event was a sold-out success.

“We know that not everyone will agree with us, so we create a place for people to feel welcomed and understand there will always be people who don’t agree with us,” the pastor said.

Dueling rallies held outside Katy church outside drag queen bingo fundraiser event:

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Texas court blocks CPS from investigating PFLAG trans families

The directive could have led to transgender youth being placed in foster care and their parents criminally charged with child abuse



Amber Briggle and her son Max (Briggle/Facebook)

AUSTIN – The Travis County District Court issued a third injunction today blocking the State of Texas from implementing a directive issued by Republican Governor Greg Abbott that targets trans youth and their families across Texas.

The directive ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary healthcare.

The directive could have led to transgender youth being placed in foster care and their parents criminally charged with child abuse—just for following the advice of their physicians and mental health providers.

Today’s ruling in PFLAG v. Abbott covers all Texas families who are members of PFLAG National, a national LGBTQ+ organization with 17 chapters in Texas. It also covers Adam and Amber Briggle and their son, Max.

Earlier, the court had issued an injunction blocking DFPS from investigating two other plaintiff families in the PFLAG v. Abbott lawsuit who are anonymous for purposes of the lawsuit. These injunctions became necessary to protect Texas families after the statewide injunction against the directive issued in an earlier lawsuit, Doe v. Abbott, was put on hold during the State’s appeal.

The ruling comes after the plaintiffs notified the court last week that DFPS was continuing intrusive investigations against PFLAG members, including by pulling a student out of class and questioning him at school about his medical history.

“Today, families of transgender kids in Texas who are members of PFLAG National find shelter from Gov. Abbott’s unjust order,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “PFLAG, our chapters in Texas and around the country are sources of support and safety from government harm because every LGBTQ+ person deserves respect, dignity and the right to access the care they need when they need it.”

“Again, the court has grasped the magnitude and breadth of the continued harm that Gov. Abbott’s directive and Attorney General Paxton’s opinion would have caused if DFPS was allowed to pursue its investigations,” said Nicholas “Guilly” Guillory, Tyrone Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal. “Families across Texas, since Gov. Abbott issued his directive, have lived in fear of the knock on the door. Even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Abbott could not compel DFPS to conduct investigations, many families remained under investigation. Parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here.”

“Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: State leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth,”  said Adri Pérez (they/them), of the ACLU of Texas. “We should trust doctors and every major medical association on how to support transgender youth. State leadership continues to attack parents for how they raise their kids — and all our plaintiffs are doing is providing unconditional love and support for children of all gender identities. We will never stop fighting for the rights, safety, and dignity of transgender Texans.”

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Disney-themed drag brunch cancelled after violent threats in Texas

The threats of violence came after social media posts by the anti-LGBTQ+ Libs Of TikTok and far-right media outlet Blaze TV



Courtesy of Cool Beans Bar & Grill/Facebook

DENTON, Tx. – The Disney-themed drag brunch scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11 was abruptly cancelled last week after an onslaught of threats of violence to the venue, the Cool Beans Bar and Grill, an LGBTQ+ friendly establishment.

The threats of violence came after social media posts by anti-LGBTQ+ users and far-right media outlet Blaze TV’s host Sara Gonzales, who invited her viewers to join her in shutting the event down.

Denton is home to two state universities with a combined enrollment of over 55,000 students, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, along with North Central Texas College. It is in the same county where barely two weeks ago, crowds were gathered outside a family friendly drag show at Anderson Distillery and Grill, in Roanoke, Texas, some with signs accusing the establishment and its patrons of sexually abusing children, or of “grooming” them for abuse.

The owners of Cool Beans Bar and Grill posted a message on its expressing their disgust over being forced to cancel the event:

A former employee, Megan Queen, described the bar the bar as a welcoming place for the LGBTQ community and said she was heartbroken at the threats made against the establishment, according to the Dallas Observer. 

As with many all-ages LGBTQ+ events this summer – from California to North Carolina – hate was ginned up on social media among right-wing extremists who sought to interrupt the event and disband the attendees. 

Leading up to the event, word was spread on anti-LGBTQ+ Facebook groups like Texas Family Project and Protect Texas Kids, the latter warning, “We need to show up in full force and show that the majority of us are against children being involved in these disturbing, sexually explicit shows.”

Editor’s note, story updated: Reference to anti-LGBTQ+ Twitter account LibsofTikTok removed.

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Texas drag brunch defended by armed counter-protesters

According to reactions on social media, many felt it was about time that right-wing threats & intimidation were responded to in kind



Anti-trans activists protesting a drag brunch in Roanoke, Texas Aug. 28, 2022 (Photo by Steven Monacelli/Twitter)

ROANOKE, Tx – Fueled by months of lies teed up by far-right conspiracy mongers like Libs of TikTok’s Chaya Raichiklike and Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, what happened on Sunday in Roanoke, Texas, has by now become something of a familiar scene. 

Crowds were gathered outside a family friendly drag show at Anderson Distillery and Grill, close to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, some with signs accusing the establishment and its patrons of sexually abusing children, or of “grooming” them for abuse. 

This time, however, counter-protestors showed up, too. Armed with AR-15 style rifles, they outnumbered the anti-LGBTQ+ activists, according to Steven Monacelli, a journalist with Rolling Stone and Texas Observer, who was there to witness the heated exchanges and document some of the conflict on Twitter

As with many all-ages LGBTQ+ events this summer – from California to North Carolina – hate was ginned up on social media among right-wing extremists who sought to interrupt the event and disband the attendees. 

Leading up to the event, word was spread on anti-LGBTQ+ Facebook groups like Texas Family Project and Protect Texas Kids, the latter warning, “We need to show up in full force and show that the majority of us are against children being involved in these disturbing, sexually explicit shows.”

The event hosted by Anderson Distillery and Grill was called, “Barrel Babes Drag Brunch” described as, “similar to a variety show with professional drag artists lip-syncing, dancing and performing comedy routines.” The owner said there would be no sexual content or erotic behavior. 

A man identified as a member of the far-right Proud Boys was photographed at the protest on Sunday. Some of the signs from anti-LGBTQ+ protestors read: “Christ is KING,” “Drag the queens out of town,” “Children cannot consent,” “Stop sexualizing children,” and “Caution: Monkeypox hotspot approx. 50 ft away. Stay back.”

(Reddit material derived from Twitter thread by journalist Steven Monacelli)

The Proud Boys has made its presence known at multiple all-ages LGBTQ+ events this summer. On June 11, members of the far-right gang shouted homophobic and transphobic slurs at performers who were reading to kids during Drag Queen story hour at the San Lorenzo, CA library. Days later, in Wilmington, North Carolina, parents and children were terrorized when a group of 15 masked militants affiliated with the pro-Trump group marched into the library and disrupted a family friendly LGBTQ+ event for more than 90 minutes. 

According to reactions on social media, many on the left felt it was about time that right-wing homophobic and transphobic threats and intimidation were responded to in kind. 

@BossBunny503 wrote: “Time for us to do this on the Left. I’m done with being intimidated by #ProudBoys, #PatriotFront even cops! Fuck #fascism! If the only way to beat #facists is with militias and the threat of violence so be it!”

Beginning last September, HB1927 made it legal in Texas for most people aged 21 or over to open-carry or concealed-carry a gun in a holster without a permit. 

The presence of an armed contingent of counter-protestors in Texas on Sunday recalled some of the scenes that played out in 2017 over white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. There, a group of about 20 anti-racist and anti-capitalists, called the Redneck Revolt, formed a perimeter around the counter-protestors in Justice Park. They were armed with rifles. 

Other notable recent examples have included some of the protests over police killings of unarmed black men like George Floyd during the summer of 2020. Reuters reports that racists carrying Confederate battle flags in the Atlanta, Georgia suburb of Stone Mountain were met with some armed left-wing protestors, prompting a clash and the intervention of members of law enforcement. 

“A pattern among the clashes was rising tensions between right and left wing groups after nearly three months of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and President Donald Trump’s ‘law and order’ response to demonstrations,” Reuters wrote.

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Texas school district imposes ‘Don’t Say Trans’ policy

“I transferred to another district this year because of the culture of fear you continue to create,” said one LGBTQ+ student



Texas Trans youth protest anti-Trans policies and laws at state capitol Spring 2021 (Photo courtesy of Landon Richie)

By Steven Monacelli | GRAPEVINE, Tx. – The parking lot was packed Monday evening when I arrived at the administrative headquarters of the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD), from which I graduated over a decade ago.

Four pop-up tents had been set up in the parking lot by conservative activist groups who held a tailgate party ahead of the meeting. Among the tailgaters was Julie McCarty, the founder of the True Texas Project, a right-wing group descended from the NE Tarrant Tea Party that’s been designated an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We had a huge party in the parking lot to celebrate our victories & enjoy awesome community spirit,” wrote True Texas Project CEO Julie McCarty on Twitter. “Thank you @GCISD & thank you to the @TrueTXProject peeps who supported!”

Immediately outside the building entrance, a handful of students from the district held protest signs. “Our existence is not a controversy,” one sign read. “Let trans kids live, we aren’t threats,” said another.

What drew both groups to the suburban school district meeting in Tarrant County was a 36-page document of proposed district policies that was publicly released only 72 hours earlier. The proposals were championed by the school board’s four-member conservative majority, recently elected with the help of a flood of dark money, part of a nationwide trend in which crusading reactionaries have turned school boards into perches from which to wage war on literature, queer children, and non-existent curricula. Most controversially, the GCISD policies include a total ban on employees engaging in any discussion of what the district defines as “gender fluidity.” 


“For purposes of this policy, ‘Gender Fluidity’ means any theory or ideology that (1) espouses the view that biological sex is merely a social construct, (2) espouses the view that it is possible for a person to be any gender or none (i.e. non-binary) based solely on that person’s feelings or preferences, or (3) espouses the view that an individual’s biological sex should be changed to ‘match’ a self-believed gender that is different from the person’s biological sex,” the measure reads.

Other policies include a ban on “equity audits” across the district and draconian rules on what books are allowed in libraries and classrooms. The language around “inappropriate material” in libraries is particularly vague, defining it in part as “patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors.”

The policies are described by proponents as designed to ensure the district complies with state and federal laws, such as the laws passed by the Texas Legislature explicitly banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in classrooms. Critics, such as the ACLU of Texas, deride the policies as blatantly anti-LGTBQ+ and note that parts of the policies in fact go beyond what is required by state law.

Nearly two hundred people had signed up to speak during the public comment period, a record-breaking number according to board member Jorge Rodríguez. Testimony lasted nearly four hours. Students, parents, alumni, and outside activists alike were each given a mere sixty seconds to voice their opinion on the proposed policies prior to the final vote. Most said they were residents of the district. A few were activists with far-right groups like True Texas Project, Protect Texas Kids, and even the John Birch Society


In terms of the “prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole,” the room was clearly divided. Simple statements of thanks to the board, heartfelt pleas to reconsider the policies, and deranged chest beatings were all on display. One man, Scott Western, shocked some in the room when he delivered a deeply homophobic rant in favor of the policies.

“Fight like hell, hold the line against the LGBT mafia and their dang pedo fans. Keep winning. You know what, keep the winning, they can keep the monkeypox,” Western said. “Woo! Get some. Thank you.”

Western received no condemnation from the board, but one man was warned and eventually ejected by the board president for clapping after speeches in opposition to the policies.

Some of the most compelling speeches came from students and alumni of the district who urged the district to reconsider the proposed measures. “Many already feel that they have to suppress their gender expression in public and fear discrimination,” said one high school junior. “Schools everywhere and in GCISD are supposed to make everyone feel included and safe.”

Another student’s speech personalized that concern in a particularly dramatic fashion.

“I transferred to another district this year because of the culture of fear you continue to create,” the student said. “I am part of the LGBTQ+ community, as are many of my friends that remain in the GCISD schools. The policies you are proposing are putting them in danger. So, what are we afraid of? No, let me rephrase. What are you afraid of?”


After the public comment period concluded, the four conservative members—in keeping with their apparent disdain for free speech—voted to limit comment from the trustees to three minutes each. One opposed member, Rodríguez, tore into the proposal. 

“Now we have a war against librarians, a war against LGTBQ+ students and teachers, and that is why I’m voting against these policies,” Rodríguez said. “We’ve heard from many citizens concerned about these policies, and in years past we don’t get to this point because we go to the community and ask for feedback and input. … I believe this is all political. These board meetings have just become headquarters for political campaigns instead of focusing on what we are here to do, which is to help students succeed.”

Conservative member Tammy Nakamura defended the policies as a justified response to what she sees as the politicization of education and the “overt and nefarious infiltration of social and cultural propaganda in the curriculum, none more damaging to young minds and bodies than the madness of so-called Gender Fluidity Ideology.” 

“Simply put, with the passage of these policies, we have neutralized our classrooms,” Nakamura said. “They will no longer be used as weapons against free market capitalism, against national pride and unity, against traditional American values, and against the biological and social identity of our children.”

At the end of the trustee statements, with less than five hours of public discussion, the proposed policies were all passed by the same 4-3 margin that limited discussion about them.


Steven Monacelli is an investigative journalist in Dallas. His reporting has been featured in Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, The Real News, Dallas Observer, Dallas Weekly, and more. He is also the publisher of Protean Magazine, a nonprofit literary publication. Follow him on Twitter @stevanzetti.


The preceding article was previously published by The Texas Observer a nonprofit investigative news outlet and is republished by permission.

The Texas Observer believes that journalism is crucial to holding the powerful accountable and essential in the development of a world that protects the lives, and rights, of all human beings. It’s with this spirit that they hope to partner, collaborate and share resources with news outlets also working in the public’s interest.

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Court issues 2nd injunction, blocks Texas investigating more Trans families

The injunction bars DFPS from investigating these families based solely on allegations that they are providing gender affirming care



Travis County District Courthouse, Austin Texas (Photo Credit: County of Travis, Texas government)

AUSTIN – The Travis County District Court entered a second injunction on Friday against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Commissioner Masters, barring them from implementing the agency’s rule expanding the definition of child abuse to presumptively treat the provision of gender affirming care as child abuse.

Friday’s action blocks Texas DFPS from investigating against two more families, Mirabel Voe and her son Antonio, and Wanda Roe and her son Tommy.

The injunction bars DFPS from implementing the rule by investigating these families based solely on allegations that they are providing gender affirming care to their adolescents, or taking any action in open investigations other than to close them so long as DFPS can do so without making further contact with the families. The Court is still considering the request for additional injunctive relief to protect the other clients, the Briggle family and Texas PFLAG members with transgender children.

Today’s ruling came in the lawsuit, PFLAG v. Abbott, filed by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, and the law firm of Baker Botts LLP. The legal organizations issued the following statement:

“We are gratified that the Court reiterated that the DFPS rule is unlawful and changed the status quo for Texas transgender youth and their families. The Court recognized yet again that being subjected to an unlawful and unwarranted investigation causes irreparable harm for these families who are doing nothing more than caring for and affirming their children and seeking the best course of care for them in consultation with their medical providers. We are confident that the Court will continue to recognize those harms as it considers the injunction we have requested for PFLAG families, including the Briggles.

“An hour after the District Court’s ruling, Texas has already filed an appeal, seeking permission to continue their persecution of transgender youth and their families. But every court to consider the actions of these Texas officials has recognized both their unlawfulness and the irreparable harms they cause to these families. We will not stop fighting until all Texas families are protected.

Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National also noted in a statement released late Friday afternoon:

“For nearly 50 years, LGBTQ+ people and their families have turned to PFLAG for support in the face of government harm, and have found community and safety within our organization. We are heartened that the Court recognized that Governor Abbott’s order is harmful, and hopeful that the Court will find similarly for PFLAG families. We remain committed to protecting the rights of trans kids and their families to make personal decisions for themselves, and to access gender-affirming care.”

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Texas AG barred from intervening in Trans youth medical case lawsuit

“The Texas Supreme Court said the AG’s opinion is not binding & that the AG should not be getting involved in these situations”



Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (CMCD/Facebook)

DALLAS – On Friday, after a more than two hour hearing which at times was combative, Dallas county judge Melissa Bellan ruled that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had no standing to intervene in a lawsuit between a physician who provides Trans specific healthcare and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

Dr. Ximena Lopez, who led Children’s GENECIS programme for trans and non-binary youth, had sued the hospital after its decision to stop providing vital gender-affirming treatments – such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy – to new patients. 

The Dallas Morning News reported that in May, Children’s agreed to allow Lopez to resume this care through April 2023 while the case is being litigated. Judge Bellan’s decision will allow Dr. Lopez to continue seeing patients under this agreement.

According to court records Paxton’s office intervened based on Paxton’s highly controversial opinion that these types of Trans youth treatments can constitute child abuse. The Republican Attorney General released a formal attorney general opinion concluding that performing certain “sex-change” procedures on children, and prescribing puberty-blockers to them, is “child abuse” under Texas law last February.

At the time of the opinion, Walter Bouman, PhD, MD, President, World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) told the Blade in an emailed statement:

“Targeting trans youth, their parents, and their health care providers for political gain is unconscionable. We strongly denounce this alarmist and misguided opinion which could obstruct access to medically necessary care. It is yet another example of the profound misunderstanding of the conditions under which transgender people live, and a profound lack of compassion for the need for responsible medical care that helps trans people, including trans youth, to thrive and contribute to society.”

In arguments presented by Dr. Lopez on Friday, Charla Aldous, one of Lopez’s lawyers said that Paxton’s office was targeting trans care for “purely political reasons.”

“We are pleased that Judge Bellan saw through these shenanigans and struck the intervention. It is mind boggling that Paxton continues to fight against the best interest of children,” Aldous said in a statement.

“That decision goes against child welfare laws as we interpret them,” Assistant Attorney General Johnathan Stone told Judge Bellan. “We’re defending the state’s ability to enforce the law.”

According to the The Dallas Morning News, Stone pointed to a nonbinding opinion Paxton issued in February that came to the conclusion that these treatments are considered child abuse under current law. The state, under Gov. Greg Abbott’s blessing, has cited this opinion to investigate families with transgender children.

Last month, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) can continue to investigate families in the state who provide medically necessary care for their Trans children, excluding the parties in the litigation that brought the matter forward in a lawsuit filed in March.

The justices however, questioned why DFPS had acted in the first case.

In its decision, the court emphasized that neither Attorney General Paxton nor Governor Abbott has the power or authority to direct DFPS to investigate the provision of medically necessary lifesaving health care for transgender youth as child abuse. But the court limited the order blocking all investigations to the specific plaintiffs who filed suit.

Judge Bellan cited this ruling repeatedly when questioning the state as to why they thought they could intervene in this case.

“That opinion is not legally binding. So that shoots your argument out of the water,” Bellan told Stone. “The Texas Supreme Court said the AG’s opinion is not binding, it is not law and that the AG should not be getting involved in these situations.”

Additional reporting from The Dallas Morning News.

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