“Texas is a very diverse state, obviously, and the 200-plus rural school districts that I represent, I wanted to give them the freedom and the latitude to include some of those items in their curriculum, in their teaching, if they choose to do so,” he said at Friday’s meeting.
More than 20 hours of public comment, from across the political spectrum, were heard in June and September over revisions of the state’s health education standards. Ricardo Martinez, the chief executive of Equality Texas, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group, testified multiple times ahead of Friday’s vote and said that excluding language about gender identity, sexual orientation and consent hindered students’ ability to navigate the world.
“You change hearts and minds by educating people about the lived experiences of those around them,” he said in an interview. “Robbing folks, especially at this age, from receiving their vital information of how you can make