TX Gov. Abbott Says UN Can ‘Pound Sand’ On LGBTQ Rights

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is not having any of it when it comes to accusations from the United Nations that new state laws infringe on the rights of LGBTQ people in Texas.

Over the weekend, the governor brushed off the criticism of the laws, as well as other claims that those measures violate both international and federal human rights law.

Last month, the UN sent a letter to Abbott accusing his state of violating those laws through legislative and administrative actions. But, Abbott responded by telling them to stay out of their business.

On Sunday, Abbott posted to the social media site X:

“The UN can go pound sand.”

Those are the same words that Abbott said back in 2021, when Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, said that if Texas wants to remain prosperous into 2050 and beyond, it would need to rely much less than it does now on oil and gas.

Four LGBTQ rights groups sent a joint letter of allegation in January to more than a dozen special rapporteurs, working groups and independent experts at the United Nations. In it, they wrote that leaders in Texas intentionally targeted the LGBQ community in the last legislative session.

The American Civil Liberties Union reported that in 2023 alone, lawmakers in Texas filed a total of 55 bills that targeted individuals who identify as LGBTQ. That accounted for about 10% of all legislation that was considered anti-LGBTQ in the entire nation last year.

The groups appealed to the UN and focused on seven specific bills that were signed into law in Texas last year. This includes measures that heavily restrict transgender athletes from participating in school sports and also ban minors from getting gender-affirming health care.

The letter was signed by the ACLU of Texas, the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and Equality Texas. In it, they wrote:

“Taken individually, the seven pieces of legislation discussed in this submission will disrupt the lives of LGBTQIA+ people of various ages and backgrounds. Put together, the Bills are 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.”

The groups that signed the letter requested that the United Nations call for all the Texas bills to be repealed, while also encouraging federal and state governments to pass much stronger non-discrimination protections for individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

They didn’t stop there, though. They also criticized how the Biden administration responded to the laws that Texas enacted, as well as similar laws that were enacted in other parts of the country. The groups accused the administration of violating a UN treaty that’s decades old since it didn’t hold individual states accountable.

Back in December, a UN committee said it was “concerned at the increase in the number of state laws that severely restrict the rights of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”