AUSTIN, Texas — Texas officials are confronting backlash after determining to let social workers turn off customers on the grounds of the handicap, sexual orientation, or gender identification.
In the leadership of the governor’s office, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted to remove handicap, sexual orientation, and gender identity in the nondiscrimination clause of this code of behavior. The board decided through a joint interview Monday with all the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, which oversees regulatory agencies for careers associated with psychological wellness.
The National Association of Social Workers criticized the board’s choice to stick to the governor’s recommendation instead of seeking public opinion.
Will Francis, manager of the institution’s Texas chapter, told the board during public comments which their choice had been”incredibly disheartening.”
Abbott’s office said the shift was made only to align the rules with the nation’s Occupations Code, which decides how and if the nation might subject social workers.
Francis stated the board’s conclusion creates the belief that individuals with disabilities could be discriminated against regardless of national rules in place to safeguard them.
“It is upsetting, even if it’s unintentional,” Francis explained. “They made space for folks to get the belief this is permitted today.
Seven advocacy groups, such as Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, and Texas Freedom Network, published a joint statement Thursday decrying the board move.
“Pro-discrimination groups could not get this passed into legislation,” Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said in the release,” however Gov. Abbott has completed their bidding by hammering it through administratively within an obscure assembly when he believed few people were seeing.”
Gloria Canseco, the presiding officer of the Behavioral Health Council, stated issues related to sex and gender identity could be revisited during a council meeting this season. She didn’t indicate whether the choice to eliminate protections for individuals with disabilities could be revisited.