EL PASO — After a city council meeting this week, El Paso is now the first city in Texas to approve a taxpayer-funded diversity, equality, and inclusion board.

This decision came after the city council approved an LGBT-uplifting plan earlier in the day.

Despite passing with a 6-2 vote, El Paso County Republican Chairwoman Lupe De La O-Dempsey said the ruling would fail the children of El Paso.

“It is not your job or your place in the family unit to try to promote sexual orientation, gender identity lifestyle, or transgender surgery to our children and grandchildren,” O-Dempsey told the council. “I am asking you to please stop indoctrinating, trying to transition our children, and wanting them to attend drag queen events at our public libraries, as you have already allowed.”

The LGBT plan, championed by the Borderland Rainbow Community Center, took two years to complete and includes four action items calling for the city to:

  • deprioritize enforcement of drag show restrictions.
  • deprioritize gender-affirming care restrictions
  • implement a city-funded diversity equity inclusion (DEI) board.
  • create a “One El Paso Safer Together” campaign.

The city council also approved an item that will “recognize the invaluable service and support the Borderland Rainbow Center provides the [LGBT] Community in the El Paso region.” But according to O-Dempsey, the only thing the LGBT community has contributed to El Paso is “discrimination against [their] children.”

The Borderland Rainbow Community Center has held weekly drag queen story hours to “give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.” Legislation to ban these kinds of drag story hours passed the Texas Senate but was killed in the House during the regular legislative session earlier this year.

For the LGBT community in El Paso, the recent ordinances are a significant victory.

“This has a chance to really become something special in our community and for us to finally be the first city in Texas that prioritizes the LGBTQ+ community and the diversity of our community,” said Wesley Lawerence, a member of the Borderland Rainbow Community Center and advocate for the LGBT plan.

On the contrary, some Texans see these ordinances as a warning to the rest of the state to protect their children.

“This agenda would undoubtedly lead to more children being exposed to lewd acts,” Brady Gray with Texas Family Project told Texas Scorecard. “The good people of El Paso should demand that this perverse behavior be put to an end, not encouraged and protected.”

Meanwhile, Texans within the city of El Paso like De La O-Dempsey continue to ask, Why is this city council pushing to protect only a small segment of our community?

Matthew DeLaCruz

Matthew DeLaCruz is a Cedar Park native and is a sophomore journalism and mass communications major at Abilene Christian University. Matthew is a summer writing fellow at Texas Scorecard and loves bringing relevant stories to citizens. When he is not writing, you can catch Matthew lifting weights, playing basketball and eating ice cream with his friends.