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Category: Austin Chronicle

Austin Chronicle: Why Is Fox Celebrating This Nazi?

Posted in Austin, Austin Chronicle, and Journalism

Paul Gray, a white supremacist originally from Tyler and active in Austin during the Trump presidency, is being lauded by Fox News after volunteering to fight Russian invaders in Ukraine. During a March  1 appearance in a segment titled “Former American paratrooper joins  fight in Ukraine,” Fox reporters praised Gray as a veteran volunteering  to fight on behalf of Ukraine but neglected to mention his violent  history.

Despite Fox protecting Gray’s identity by using only his first name, he was easily recognizable to extremism researchers like Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They elect not to report his full name and don’t even stop to ask why he might already be in Ukraine,” Hayden told the Chronicle.  “They just hope that the audience doesn’t ask any questions because  then Fox will be forced to dig deeper into an uncomfortable story about  our problems with radicalization here at home.” Reports published by  KETK, Tyler’s Fox affiliate, did use Gray’s full name and further  identified him as an American citizen who’s owned a gymnasium and  reportedly “been an influence on the Ukrainian community.”

Austin Chronicle: Court Halts Abbott’s Anti-Trans ‘Abuse’ Directive

Posted in Austin, Austin Chronicle, Journalism, and LGBTQIA

Families with transgender children in Texas won a reprieve on Friday,  March 11, after a court temporarily blocked a statewide directive  issued by Gov. Greg Abbott that redefined gender affirming care as presumed child abuse.

The action came in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Lambda Legal on behalf of an anonymous family with a 16-year-old transgender teen,  who’d found themselves under investigation by the state. The child’s  mother, referred to in court filings as Jane Doe, was an employee  of the Texas Depart­ment of Family and Protective Services and had  expressed concern about the Feb. 22 directive. The agency then put Doe  on leave and opened an abuse investigation into her family. Another  plaintiff is Dr. Megan Mooney, a Houston psychologist who feared  the directive could force “mandated reporters” such as herself to turn  in clients simply for offering their trans kids appropriate care. Brian Klosterboer,  an ACLU of Texas attorney who represents Mooney and the Doe family,  said the state was moving against trans kids with alarming speed. “It’s  really scary that they’ve weaponized the Department of Family and  Protective Services to play politics with the very lives of transgender  young people and to terrorize families in this state,” Klosterboer told  the Chronicle before the hearing.

Austin Chronicle: Trans Youth & Allies Rally Against ‘Abuse’ Guidelines

Posted in Austin, Austin Chronicle, Journalism, and LGBTQIA

A crucial upcoming hearing, perhaps as early as March 11, could put the brakes on Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive for the state to investigate – as presumed child abuse – any gender ­affirming medical care provided to transgender youth. In the meantime, trans Austinites and allies are banding ­together to defend their human rights.

Transgender UT student Ash Terry organized a roughly  350-person protest March 1. After Abbott’s draconian directive inspired  an outpouring of support, she said she’s actually feeling more hopeful  for the future of trans kids in Texas than ever. “I was surprised at the  number of cis[gender] allies out there,” she said. “I was just really  staggered that there were so many, and a lot of people from out of town.  This whole experience has given me a lot of hope.”

Austin Chronicle: Austin FC Fans Prove Y’all Means All

Posted in Austin, Austin Chronicle, and Journalism

On January 2 of this year, Chris Saldaña sent a tweet, tagging Austin’s mayor and police chief: “Happy New Year @Chief_Chacon, any update on @austintexasgov cleaning up this piece of property that belongs to the City of #Austin. It’s going on two months that you said it would be handled. This video is from today. Cars, trash, drugs, prostitution. Help us @MayorAdler.”

The linked video pans through an encampment used by unhoused people in a North Austin park near I-35 in the St. Johns neighborhood. A pile of trash bags and garbage gathered into a pile can be seen, and some tents, but not much else. (No people are visible.)

Saldaña, a journalist and communications professional, spent 2021 as an announcer for Austin FC, during the inaugural year of Austin’s Major League Soccer team. Things turned sour for him quickly after the tweet, which was met with a flood of disagreement (and, according to Saldaña, some threatening messages too). Many of the replies were from fans, who thought that his tweet was starkly at odds with the inclusive atmosphere they’ve tried to create at Austin FC games, where attendees may chant, “Y’all means all.”