Censured Houston Democrat pushes back after siding with GOP child gender modification ban

She said she was “assured that this position is rooted in sound policy which supports the health, development, and overall well-being of minors.”
Girl, transgender flag, Madrid, Spain, July 9, 2022

A Houston Democrat is pushing back against some members of her own party who voted to censure her after she voted to “protect and care for” children in two key bills that passed the Texas House.

State Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, was among some Democrats who voted with Republicans to pass bills banning child gender modification procedures, SB 14, and banning sexually explicit books from being in public school libraries and classrooms, HB 900.

In response, Democrats in the Meyerland area of Houston voted to censure her on Tuesday. The group said in a statement that her votes “demonstrated a lack of consideration for the best interests of our community and an undermining of the values we hold dear. Rep. Theirry campaigns on being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community yet she has supported legislation which will harm this community and doesn’t align with democratic principles.”

Thierry published a lengthy statement explaining her vote in support of SB 14, saying she did so after “hearing from constituents, listening to stakeholders, and reviewing the scientific data in this country.” She said she was “assured that this position is rooted in sound policy which supports the health, development, and overall well-being of minors.”

She also read her statement on the House floor, saying she was “coming from a place of love and compassion and can only hope and pray that it is received in that same spirit.”

Emotional while reading it, Thierry, a Black woman, said she’d received hateful comments from those supporting the irreversible procedures on children.

“As a woman of color, I know what it’s like to feel unseen, unheard, and devalued,” she said. “I have recently been treated that way by some in this process and coming to this vote. That is not what children experiencing gender dysphoria should have to go through and I believe this debate should never and was never about erasing trans children. For me, this discussion is about how best to protect and care for these children.”

Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, who sponsored SB 14’s companion bill in the House, said, “One of the most intellectually honest things I have ever seen on the House floor was Shawn Thierry’s speech on SB14. The world needs more leadership like this, courageous, thoughtful and genuine.” He said her constituents “are truly blessed by her.”

Meyerland-area Democrats said the bill was “blatantly discriminatory and unconstitutional” and her support for the bill “demonstrates her disregard for the harm it will cause to many.” They also said her speech was “spreading misinformation that is not backed by science.”

In her statement, Thierry said those making “polarized and politicized” statements and “personal, and even racist attacks [against her] as an African American woman are neither productive or persuasive.”

On the same day as the censure vote, she tweeted a quote from Albert Einstein who said, “What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right.”

She also told Fox News, “There have been so many parents who’ve inboxed me, and so many Democrats that have said they feel the same way” as she does. “But they were, just like I was, trembling,” she said, referring to when she spoke on the House floor, saying Democrats who agree with her are afraid of being ostracized by those in their own party.

She said, “they agree but there has been so much backlash and fallout and that should not be the case. As I’ve said before, children should not be caught up in partisan politics. These kids that are being given Lupron, which is a chemical castration drug, and is a cancer drug, they’re giving this drug to children as young as nine years old that do not have cancer. This is something that we’ve got to stop.”

Nearly a month after the House passed HB 900, the bill hasn’t moved out of a Senate committee. Many parents and conservatives have called on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate to move the bill out of committee and to vote on it with less than two weeks left in the regular legislative session.