Evil Words: The Texas Republican Party Platform on LGBT+ issues

I went through and extracted all of the LGBT+ issues from the new platform of the Texas Republican Party.  It is fully evil and most concerns with attempts to effectively make being transgendered illegal.


124. Gender Identity: The official position of the Texas schools shall be that there are only two genders: biological male and biological female. We oppose transgender normalizing curriculum and pronoun use. We hold that biological men shall compete against other biological men and biological women shall compete against other biological women in athletics in the public school system of Texas and at the collegiate level

(Homosexuality and Gender Issues)

143. Homosexuality: Homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin, and we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. No one should be granted special legal status based on their LGBTQ+ identification.

144. Gender Identity: We oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity. For the purpose of attempting to affirm a person age 21 or under if their perception is inconsistent with their biological sex, no medical practitioner or provider may engage in the following practices:

a. Intervene in any way to prevent natural progression of puberty.
b. Administer or provide opposite sex hormones.
c. Perform any surgery on healthy body parts of the underage person.

145. No Taxpayer Funding for Sex Change: We oppose the use of taxpayer funds for any type of medical gender dysphoria treatments or sex change operations and/or treatments. This includes but is not limited to military personnel as well as inmates in federal, state, or local prisons or jails. Inmates must be housed according to their biological sex. No Federal, state, insurance, or probate monies may be allocated for the use of such treatment.

146. Counseling Methods: Therapists, psychologists, and counselors licensed with the State of Texas shall not be forbidden or penalized by any licensing board for practicing Reintegrative Therapy or other counseling methods when counseling clients of any age with gender dysphoria or unwanted same-sex attraction.

(Healthcare Independence)

152. Medical Freedom: We call for an addition to the Texas Bill of Rights that explicitly states that Texans have the natural, inalienable right to refuse vaccination or other medical treatment. Therefore, the following are expressly forbidden even in an emergency or in a pandemic:

c. Any school, public or private, or any health care provider withholding from a parent or legal guardian information that is relevant to the physical or mental health of the minor, to include information related to a minor’s perception that his or her gender or sex Is inconsistent with his or her biological sex.

(Individual Rights and Freedoms)

204. Religious Freedom for Business: We support the removal of laws and regulations that are used to force business owners and employees to violate their conscience, sincerely held beliefs, or core values. Property defining public accommodation as understood in the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

a. Prohibit any change to that legal definition by any federal, state, or local law to expand government control to restrict any First Amendment rights.
b. Proscribe any law that requires any private business or individual to create or provide a custom product or service, or any kind of expressive work, or enter into a contract, or be coerced into any speech that is not their own

206. Gender Identity: We support enacting legislation in the State of Texas ensuring that:

a. No government entity in the state shall be allowed to take it upon itself to define for any private business or private entity how it must segregate its restrooms, changing facilities, or showers.
b. Nor may any government agency be allowed to require businesses to profess, espouse, or adopt specific views on sex, sexuality, gender, or gender identity. We oppose any attempt to criminalize and/or penalize anyone for the wrong use of pronouns.
c. Government agencies must guarantee that views and positions on these matters are not used as a basis to deny access to public accommodations, as defined by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, nor to deny employment, or discriminate in employment decisions, solely on the basis of a person’s views on these matters.
d. We recognize that gender identity disorder is a genuine and extremely rare mental health condition and that denial of an immutable gender binary not only denies those with the condition proper mental healthcare but also leads to physically and psychologically abusive “social transitioning” as well as irreversible physical mutilation. We urge the State Legislature to pass legislation that requires adherence to sex identifications on all official documents that will be based upon biological gender, as well as legislation enacting civil penalties and fiscal compensation awarded to de-transitioners who have received “gender affirming surgery” as compensation for malpractice.


(Family and Gender Issues)

207. Human Sexuality: We affirm God’s biblical design for marriage and sexual behavior between one biological man and one biological woman, which has proven to be the foundation for all great nations in Western civilization. We oppose homosexual marriage, regardless of state of origin. We urge the Texas Legislature to pass religious liberty protections for individuals, businesses, and government officials who believe marriage is between one man and one woman. We oppose the granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for sexual behavior or identity, regardless of state of origin. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose non-traditional sexual behavior out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

208. Protect Minors Until Age of Consent: A law should be enacted to protect the rights of the individual until the age of consent is reached.

a. Prohibit sexual transition surgeries, hormonal blockers, social transitioning, or other treatments
b. Protect against predatory sexual behaviors, including but not limited to “Drag Queen Story Hour”
c. Remove immunities or protections from school districts and personnel which participate in the sexualization of our children
d. Require disclosure of the above offenses to parents or guardians

209. Definition of Marriage: We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal, and moral covenant only between one biological man and one biological woman.

210. State Authority over Marriage: We support withholding jurisdiction from the federal courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the definition of marriage.

211. Spousal Benefits: We shall not recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse, as defined in Principle #6 of the Platform, including granting benefits by political subdivisions.

212. No-Fault Divorce: We urge the Legislature to rescind unilateral no-fault divorce laws and support covenant marriage and to pass legislation extending the period of time in which a divorce may occur to six months after the date of filing for divorce.

213. Nullify Unconstitutional Ruling: We believe the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, overturning the Texas law prohibiting same-sex marriage in Texas, has no basis in the Constitution and should be nullified.

215. Child Rights: We call on the Texas Legislature to pass legislation to protect privacy in public schools and government buildings as allowed by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, by ensuring that multi-use facilities, including showers, changing rooms, and bathrooms, are designated for and used only by persons based on the person’s biological sex.

M42 Try 3!

OK.  Last night I made yet another attempt at photographing M42.  This time I took a series of 90 second exposures, got all the needed flats, darks, and bias frames, and processed them with slightly more understanding of how to manipulate photos.  Behold!


The red colors are still very faint, and I had to crop the image more than I wanted because of field rotation artifacts. but the level of detail visible is incredible compared to my earlier attempts.  I am quite satisfied with this image!


M42 try 2!

So earlier this month I took a nice photo of M42, but it was an off the cuff event that I really didn’t plan out.  Last night I made a second attempt and I was prepared this time.  I bought a Bahtinov mask to help me get sharp focus, I took proper dark frames and flat frames, I tinkered with the ISO and exposure length to try and get sharper stars, and I took a lot more light frames so that I could build up a greater total exposure time.  I expected to get an image that showed a lot more detail and color.  The result?  Well, see for yourself.

Huh. It really doesn’t look that much different, does it?  Turns out I was working under a misunderstanding.  I thought that the combined exposure time of all images used determined how much detail would be visible.  Turns out, that’s not the case.  Instead, the exposure of a single frame determines how much detail there is, so if you want to see fainter details you have to do longer exposures, just like in the old days of film. So what does adding more light frames get you?  After reading up some more to figure out where I went wrong I found out that more frames just improves the signal to noise ratio in the final image.  In other words, the final image is cleaner.  Compare the new and old images and you will see that the old image shows a lot of “grain” while the new image is much smoother.  So the new image did improve in that way, at least!

Also, adding in the darks and flats got rid of the artifacts from dust on the sensor that show up as dark blotches in the old image, so there’s another improvement!

Where do I go from here?  The next attempt will be using longer exposure times.  Perhaps I’ll go up to a minute per frame.  My reading tonight also tells me that I need to be taking more dark and flat frames, as well as bias frames, so I’ll be sure to do that in my next session.

I have also ordered an equatorial wedge so that my telescope won’t have to operate in alt-az mode.  I had always heard this was preferred, but I didn’t realize why until last night when I realized that the sky was rotating, while my telescope was not, which means that the orientation of the stars in the images changed as the series of photos progressed.  Deep Sky Stacker is capable of adjusting for that, but in the raw stacked image you can see the result around the edges of the stacked image – they show a series of rotating lines where the edges of each individual frame are.  Once I get the wedge delivered I won’t have to worry about that anymore.


M42 The Great Nebula in Orion – My First Serious Astrophotography Target

Last July I bought a nice new telescope – an 8 inch  Meade LX-200 – but since then I’ve only really tinkered with it visually.  Tonight was a clear night, and I’ve been meaning for months to observe M42, so I set up the scope on the deck in the back yard and took a gaze.

It was beautiful!  I’d never seen so much detail before, and for the first time ever I saw all four stars of the Trapezium.  And then I thought, what the heck, I’ll take a photo of it.  It ought to at least be better than my previous photos.

So I attached my Canon 50D at prime focus, got the focus as good as I could get it, experimented with exposure times a little and settled on 5 second exposures.  I took 25 of them.  And I took 5 black frames as well because I knew I would need them for the Deep Sky Syacker image processing program I’d tinkered with a while back.

So after packing up, I downloaded the images from my camera and set Deep Sky Stacker to work.  I’ve never tried this before and I really don’t know what I’m doing, but as I played with the image I began to see amazing detail.  Behold, my first crude attempt at image processing.

Holy Haleakala!  (As the Bad Astronomer would say.)

Compare this to my previous best photo taken with a 500mm lens.

I had no idea my little off the cuff attempt at astrophotography could produce such an amazing result with so little effort!  To quote Casablanca, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”