Texas Log Cabin Republicans, part of an organization within the Republican Party that advocates for equal rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, have finally admitted "we failed" to shift the party's views regarding the LGBTQ+ community.
Paul von Wupperfeld, now a 56-year-old Democrat who has not voted Republican since 2000, toldThe Texas Tribune that Log Cabin Republicans have "failed to moderate" the Republican Party, noting that while he is "glad we tried, and I think we did the right thing by trying," former Log Cabin Republicans are shifting to the left "faster and faster."
First formed in the 1970s, Log Cabin Republicans are no stranger to attacks from their own party.
For example, in 1990, when von Wupperfeld served as the first president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, the official Republican Party platform called homosexuality “biologically and morally unsound” and referred to same-sex relationships as akin to “necrophilia, pedophilia, bestiality, or incest.”
Not much has changed.
Last month, Log Cabin Republicans were dealt an especially harsh blow after the Texas GOP adopted a new platform calling homosexuality an "abnormal lifestyle choice" after 5,100 delegates and alternates voted on it.
The platform also affirms the opposition of Texas Republicans to “all efforts to validate transgender identity” and calls for a ban on gender-affirming medical care, including hormone therapy, for anyone under 21.
These talking points about transgender people also demonstrate Republicans will not repudiate the controversy that erupted earlier this year after Greg Abbott, the state's Republican governor, signed off on legislation that, though ultimately struck down by a federal judge, would have empowered the state to open child abuse investigations into families whose children receive gender affirming healthcare.
None of these developments have come as a surprise to the larger LGBTQ+ community, which has historically opposed a party that has worked overtime to strip them of their rights and deny them legitimacy.
The platform also comes at a time of widespread "groomer" hysteria among Republicans accusing LGBTQ+ people of building relationships, trust and emotional connections with children so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
To that end, Texas Republicans have made clear they oppose making members of the LGBTQ+ community a protected class and that they do support conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy, often described as "promoting healthy sexuality" or "sexual reorientation efforts" in right-wing circles as the practice has come under further scrutiny, is defined as any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Numerous health and welfare organizations have spoken out against the practice. The American Psychological Association (APA) has affirmed "there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation."
Other organizations, such as The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), The United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and The World Health Organization (WHO) have also condemned conversion therapy, citing the wealth of scientific research studies discrediting the practice.
But Texas Republicans say efforts should be made among the LGBTQ+ community to eliminate “unwanted same-sex attraction" as they advocate for what they termed "Reintegrative Therapy."