Texas governor Greg Abbott says UN can ‘pound sand’ after LGBTQ+ criticism

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, had a curt response after he learned that human rights groups had raised concerns to the UN about anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the state.

In January, several humanitarian organisations – including Equality Texas, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law – sent a letter to UN officials to “raise alarm about the deteriorating human rights situation for LGBTQIA+ persons in the state of Texas”.

In a terse X/Twitter response on Sunday (25 February), Republican Greg Abbott told the groups and the UN to mind their own business. 

“The UN can go pound sand,” he wrote. 

The UN can go pound sand. https://t.co/JpWguPHGHJ

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 25, 2024

The phrase means to “do something that has no purpose and is a waste of time”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary

This isn’t the first time Abbott has issued that response to the UN. He similarly dismissed concerns raised by UN secretary general António Guterres in 2021 that Texas needed to be less dependent on oil and gas.

In the letter, the advocacy groups argued the Texas state legislature “targeted the LGBTQIA+ community through hostile laws that have disrupted (or will disrupt) the ability” of queer people to “effect their rights”. 

They argued that state legislation amounted to a “systematic attack on the fundamental rights, dignities and identities” of LGBTQ+ people, that “opens the gates for discrimination by both public and private actors”. 

The letter went on to say: “Considering the danger this represents, we humbly ask for you to make inquiries into this backsliding of human rights of LGBTQIA+ persons in the state.” 

Texas is one of a number of Republican-led states where there has been a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ bills being proposed and passed by local legislatures. 

Lawmakers in the Lone Star State filed at least 55 bills targeting LGBTQ+ individuals, according to the ACLU’s tracker. This accounted for roughly 10 per cent of anti-queer legislation proposed nationwide last year. 

Last year, Abbott signed into law measures that ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, heavily restrict how transgender athletes can participate in school sports and curb drag performances in the presence of minors.

He has also directed Texas officials to conduct investigations into parents and guardians who provide their trans children with gender-affirming healthcare. 

The investigations, carried out by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, had a devastating impact on the families of transgender youngsters, with one mother telling PinkNews that the experience had been “traumatising”

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