A Texas Democrat who joined the Republican Party in supporting a ban on gender-affirming care for minors who drop out of elementary school

A Democratic Texas lawmaker who broke with her party by supporting a ban on gender-affirming care for minors was ousted in a primary runoff that galvanized LGBTQ+ groups nationwide, who then campaigned for his opponent in the race for the south Houston seat.

Rep. Shawn Thierry’s defeat follows four terms in which the Houston congresswoman generally joined her Democratic colleagues on major issues, including voting against her. aggressive immigration measures Demanded by the Republican governor. Greg Abbott and a ban on diversity programs on college campuses.

But she outraged fellow Democrats when she delivered a 12-minute speech in the Texas House last year, defending a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Three other Democrats also voted for the measure, but none were as vocal as Thierry, who lost by double digits Tuesday night to challenger Lauren Ashley Simmons, a union organizer.

“Her vote was the reason she ran a race, but when she doubled down and really went down the rabbit hole of misinformation, it energized people in the LGBTQ community,” the former mayor said. Houston, Annise Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. , who supported Simmons’ bid.

Simmons will be favored to win the seat in November in the heavily Democratic district.

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A message left Wednesday with Thierry’s campaign was not immediately returned.

But during an emotional debate on the bill last year, Thierry said his vote for the ban was in line with his conscience and the values ​​of his constituency.

“I am making the decision to put the safety and well-being of all young people before the comfort of political opportunism,” Thierry said. “My fundamental belief and conclusion is that we must remain consistent on the principle that children must have special provisions under the law because they cannot fully appreciate the long-term consequences of their actions. »

While Most Democrats support rightssafety and visibility of LGBTQ+ adults and children, many Democrats nationwide are struggling to counter a barrage of GOP attacks on LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender people.

Simmons had the support of LGBTQ+ groups in Texas and across the country. The Human Rights Campaign political action committee endorsed his challenge to Thierry and called and texted more than 2,000 people in support of his candidacy. Equality Texas, another group, organized neighborhood marches for Simmons, ran ads and created a website for Simmons.

Grant Martin, a political consultant to Simmons’ campaign, said that although other Democrats also voted for the ban, Thierry doubled down on his support for the ban.

“Our opponent after that vote went on Fox News and defended her vote and aired some of these Republican arguments,” Martin said.

Martin said Thierry was also criticized for his support by several Republican campaign donors.

Thierry touted the support of black pastors in the district that extends south and southwest of Houston. Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said the race is likely to leave an impression with other Democrats.

“This sends a clear message to elected Democrats that if you break with the party on key issues, … you really run the risk of being elected and removed from office,” Jones said. “This is the same type of purge and litmus test that we have seen recently within the Republican Party.”


Murphy reported from Oklahoma City and DeMillo from Little Rock, Arkansas.

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