Texas GOP governor candidate takes credit for state pulling down websites with LGBTQ resources

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Web pages with resources for LGBTQ youth in Texas were taken down after social media posts from a gubernatorial candidate slammed them for “advocating transgender ideology.”

Don Huffines, a Dallas-area real estate developer, former state senator and challenger to Gov. Greg. Abbott in the 2022 election, posted on Twitter that he got Texas officials to take down pages on the Texas Department of Family Protective Services website and said, “We’re just getting started.”

In a video posted on his verified Twitter account, Huffines describes the content of a webpage for the DFPS as “some very disturbing information.”

“They’re talking about helping ‘empower and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allied,’ nonheterosexual behavior, and it goes on and on,” Huffines said. “I mean, really? This is Texas. These are not Texas values. These are not Republican Party values. But these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values.”

Huffines also mentioned the webpage for the Texas Youth Connection, a program run by DFPS, for having a link to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides LGBTQ youth valuable suicide prevention and crisis intervention resources. The webpage also had the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“This is the webpage where @GregAbbott_TX ‘s political appointees are promoting transgender ideology,” Huffines’ tweet said in August.

Hours after Huffines complained about them, the sites were taken offline.

“The Texas Youth Connection website has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current,” the site for Texas Youth Connection reads.

There are links to the Texas Youth Helpline and their Preparation for Adult Living program on the page.

The Houston Chronicle first reported the incident Tuesday after it obtained emails through a public records request. The emails, to and from agency officials, discussed pulling the sites down just 13 minutes after Huffines’ Twitter post went live. Melissa Gonzales, the agency’s media relations manager, along with communications director Patrick Crimmins and the department’s webmaster exchanged emails referencing Huffines’ comments directly that eventually led to the sites being taken offline, the Chronicle’s report said.

Crimmins said the site was “temporarily disabled a few weeks ago for a content review,” and that the review is “ongoing.”

KXAN reached out to Gov. Abbott’s office for comment, and once we receive it, we will update this story.

Julian Castro, the former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, blasted the move, Tweeting, “Greg Abbott is so scared of losing his primary, he’s sabotaging an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention hotline to kowtow to his extremist base.”

The Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit think tank that provides research and insight to promote equality for everyone, also denounced what happened.

“The livelihoods of #LGBTQ youth should not be reduced to political pawns,” it said in a tweet.

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