Texas state website that included LGBTQ resources disabled after governor’s Republican primary challenger criticized its content

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) disabled a website with resources for LGBTQ youth after Gov. Greg Abbott’s Republican primary challenger, Don Huffines, criticized its content in a video message posted to Twitter in August.

On August 31, Huffines posted a video message to his Twitter account, saying that Abbott’s political appointees “are promoting transgender sexual policies to our Texas youth.”

“This is Texas. These are not Texas values, these are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values. That’s why we need a change. That’s what my campaign is about,” Huffines said.

While DFPS would not say if Huffines’ comments are the reason for disabling the Texas Youth Connection website and removing the “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” section, an email exchange between DFPS employees reveals a concern with Huffines’ comments about the site and discussions regarding the revision or removal of the site.

At CNN’s request, DFPS spokesperson Patrick Crimmins provided a statement saying, “The site was disabled several weeks ago for a content review, which is still ongoing.”

Crimmins also provided copies of the email exchange dated August 31 with the subject line: “Don Huffines video accusing Gov/DFPS of pushing liberal transgender agenda.”

In one email, DFPS media specialist Marissa Gonzales said to Crimmins, “This is starting to blow up on Twitter. He’s referring to a section on the Texas Youth Connection website called ‘Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.'”

Crimmins responded by adding DFPS Web & Creative Services Director Darrell Azar to the email, saying, “Darrell — please note we may need to take that page down, or somehow revise content……who manages for CPS, or how does content approval work? What is our specific role?”

In his response, Azar said, “By policy the program owns the content and decides what resources it offers to youth.”

Azar also confirmed that they have “had some content related to LGBTQ for as long as I can remember. However, the current content is only a few years old.”

The next day, Azar emailed that the website “has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current.”

Huffines said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, “We aren’t surprised that state employees who are loyal to Greg Abbott had to scramble after we called their perverse actions out. I promised Texans I would get rid of that website and I kept that promise.”

DFPS is “providing exploitative content which sexualizes children,” Huffines said in a longer statement shared to his social media. He also called on Abbott to fire the director of the department.

“Any adult who pushes the perverted LGBTQ agenda on our children will be promptly removed from all positions within Texas government agencies,” Huffines, a former state senator, added.

CNN has reached out to Abbott for comment. His office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request.

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