Officials enacting policies that hurt many Texans

I am a nearly lifelong Texan, growing up primarily in Wichita Falls. I left the state for college, but returned in 2006, and have been a Texas resident for the majority of the time since then. I am also a gay man — and I am proud of who I am — to the core of my soul.

I have sat here, bewildered, for the last few months as to the actions of our state’s elected leaders. I can no longer sit in silence. I have to do something — we all have to do something.

The leaders of this state seem to have sunk to a new, unthinkable low. And unfortunately, the policies pushed by and the actions taken by the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general are the same, or similar to, other states in our nation.

I believe that many Texans have pointed questions for our elected leaders around their continued assault on LGBTQ+ Texans. I have listed a set of questions below that are on the top of my mind, and I demand that the top elected leaders of our state answer these questions in a publicly available way, with no fluff or confusing words. The answers should be as direct as the questions. Prior to answering these questions, I encourage each of you to really think about these questions from the bottom of your hearts, as these answers undoubtedly will define your core character.

To Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick and Attorney General Paxton:

1. Do you believe the LGBTQ+ individuals deserve equal protections under state laws as heterosexual Texas residents?

2. Have you ever had an honest and open conversation with a group of LGBTQ+ individuals whereby you attempted to put yourself in our/their shoes?

3. Have you ever asked yourself, “What if my child was gay? Or transgender? How would I treat him/her/them and what would I want for them in this world?”

4. Why do you equate Pride Week celebrations with sex (Reference Paxton letter to Austin ISD superintendent dated March 22)?

5. Why do you believe that you are better equipped to make critical medical decisions that adversely impact our transgender Texans — with such decisions going against the preponderance of medical professionals’ advice? (Note: none of you three have any professional medical training.)

6. Do you not understand that kids do not just “choose” to be LGBTQ+ (It’s not a choice and no discussion in classrooms is going to “make” a child LGBTQ+)?

7. Why are you apparently so terribly afraid of every person who is different from you?

8. Why are you spending precious time and resources issuing directives and proceeding with agendas that do not improve the lives of Texans?

I have had it with white, heterosexual men making life-changing legislation and issuing directives that impact the lives of individuals that you each seem to desperately fear or view as unequal.

Your reasoning of protecting the youth, protecting the sanctity of marriage, protecting Christianity, etc., are the same types of arguments that have been used for centuries to justify open discrimination. You cite yourselves as men of God, so why do you continually forget the two most important commandments in the Bible — to love God with all your heart and love thy neighbor as yourself? Those are simple concepts, yet for such educated and powerful men, you seem unable to comprehend them.

Your agendas make me and many Texans nauseated. You are prioritizing control and political aspirations over love and respect.

I call for an end to this hatred and bigotry immediately. Spend your time fixing the electric grid (and spare us the fluff here as nothing has really changed). Focus on improving our state’s roads and bridges. Find solutions to lift the Texas education system. Focus on improving, rather than marginalizing, Texans’ lives. Fix the structure and funding of the Department of Family Protective Services.

You would gain substantially more praise for focusing on these areas than the cheap points you gain via your discriminatory legislation, your bigoted directives and your hateful words.

Chase Bice lives in Houston.