Dozens of gay Texas conservatives traveled to Houston last weekend to join their fellow Republicans at the Texas GOP convention. As members of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization representing LGBT conservatives and their allies, these convention attendees were unapologetically and energetically pro-America First, pro-God, pro-gun, pro-Trump and fired up to elect a new wave of conservative Republicans up and down the ballot in November.
Many were relatively new GOP voters, coming out of the closet and risking the derision of their liberal peers by joining President Donald Trump’s Republican Party.
How did the state GOP respond to these new grassroots recruits? By continuing to deny the Texas Log Cabin Republicans space for a booth alongside other organizations and, at the last minute, slipping language into the state party platform condemning homosexuality as an “abnormal lifestyle.”
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As the national president of the Log Cabin Republicans, I could use this column to criticize the Texas GOP for weak leadership or narrow-mindedness. Fortunately, I don’t need to, because I know the Texas GOP isn’t just on the wrong side of history. They’re shortsightedly on the wrong side of the modern Republican Party.
Trump a leader in LGBT inclusion
It’s difficult to understand just how game-changing Trump’s presidential campaigns and presidency were for LGBT conservatives, who were suddenly included as welcome members of the party after decades of being sidelined.
Trump publicly recognized LGBT conservatives and had no hesitation appointing them – like Ambassador Richard Grenell – to key roles in his administration and his campaign. In 2020, his reelection campaign formed an official LGBT coalition and hosted “Trump Pride” events featuring prominent members of the LGBT conservative community.
Following in Trump’s footsteps, the Republican National Committee launched its own “RNC Pride Coalition” to bring more LGBT voters into the tent in 2022. We’re building off of that relationship to expand our voter outreach and voter education efforts to turn the LGBT vote out for Republicans in a way that has never been done before.
We are LGBT people, not leftists
All that said, if the Texas GOP is trying to do everything it can to expand the Republican base and defeat the Democrats in 2022, it’s not doing a very good job.
Donald Trump Jr. noticed. “The Texas GOP should focus its energy on fighting back against the radical (Democrats) instead of canceling a group of gay conservatives who are standing in the breach with us,” he said.
Perhaps the Texas Republicans are excluding LGBT conservatives in reaction to the surge in leftist radical gender ideology that is swamping our schools. Here’s something Texas Republicans may be surprised to learn: Our members vigorously oppose this radical gender culture war just as much as they do.
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Our organization vocally defended Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Parental Rights in Education law and slammed Democrats for lying about it. We oppose teaching young children about sex and gender ideology in schools. We believe that allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports is unfair. We have been on the front lines in these fights because, unlike LGBT activists on the left, we do not agree with the radical notion that sex and gender are meaningless.
In other words, our members in Texas are just as committed to defeating the Democrats as their fellow Republicans are – only to be told that their party doesn’t even want them fighting alongside them in the trenches.
Even in Texas, inclusive GOP winning
Texas Republicans are setting themselves up to play a losing hand on LGBT inclusion. Just last week, a House district in Texas sent political shockwaves when Mayra Flores, a young Mexican-born immigrant and a Republican, won a special election that flipped the seat red in the historically blue region.
A decade ago, a diverse Republican candidate like Flores would have been a rare find. But thanks to Trump and the GOP’s historic outreach to and investment in these communities, the Republican Party is bringing in new faces and winning elections in places that once seemed untouchable.
Make no mistake, these voters will make the difference in toss-up races. We even have a phrase for it: Inclusion wins. Including LGBT conservatives in the Republican Party’s big tent signals to new potential supporters that their vote is welcome within the GOP.
Regardless of what Texas does, our members are proud conservatives and will keep fighting Democrats however they can. Texas Republicans don’t have to change their values to let us in. They simply need to acknowledge that we are already here.
Charles T. Moran is president of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas GOP doesn’t represent where Republicans headed on LGBT inclusion