Groups write to UN over ‘deteriorating human rights’ for LGBTQ+ Texans

United Nations building in New York (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law Human Rights Clinic wrote to the United Nations on Monday “to raise alarm about the deteriorating human rights situation for LGBTQIA+ persons in the state of Texas.”

Citing hostile rhetoric from and policy by state actors, the groups urged recipients to make inquiries into what they called the backsliding of rights for LGBTQ people in Texas. They also laid blame at the hands of the federal government which, they argued, “has not adopted a proper response” notwithstanding some injunctions from federal courts.

The authors identified seven bills, writing that they, together, constitute “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.”

Among these are three that the petitioners argue constitute direct discrimination as proscribed in international law — an anti-transgender sports ban, a healthcare ban for minors and a ban on diversity, equity and inclusion offices on the campuses of public colleges and universities.

Others, the authors argued, will likely be discriminatory in effect, such as, for instance, a bill that would introduce religious chaplains in schools “who may engage in conversion therapy,
may shame students for their sexual or gender identities, or may out students without their consent.”

Moreover, the groups wrote, rhetoric by Texas officials “stigmatizing and labeling LGBTQIA+ persons as unwanted members of the society may amount to public incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, prohibited under article 20, paragraph 2” of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “because promoting harmful stereotypes
about gender and sexuality risks creating wider repercussions such as persecution, violence and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ persons.”

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