Steven Hotze

This content was last updated Nov. 17, 2023, 9:07 p.m. UTC

Steven F. Hotze is a conservative physician, political activist, and talk radio show host. He has been responsible for funding many anti-LGBTQ+ candidates across his career, including as far back as the 1980s. This was through wealth he amassed through his private practice relating to hormone replacement for issues such as hypothyroidism, which has been criticized as being based on pseudoscience that Hotze is not qualified to practice.

He is notable for being one of the largest fiscal sponsors of the opposition to Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, where he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of candidates and in political advertisements. He also founded a conservative advocacy group that has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group.

Hotze faces two criminal charges for his role in the detaining and assault of an air conditioner repairman for allegedly supporting voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. This has remained unsubstantiated by further evidence.

By definition, [transgender people] are pedophiles. Anybody that sexualizes children is a pedophile. The school allows teachers that sexualize children.

Hotze, Senate Hearing, March 16, 2023

Education and Credentials

According to his LinkedIn, Hotze earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the Austin campus of University of Texas (1968-1971) and his Doctor of Medicine from the Houston campus of University of Texas Medical School. Hotze has been practicing medicine as a family doctor since 2000, and has been focusing on hormone therapy in his private practice for over 30 years.

Hotze has previously lied about his certifications, falsely claiming to be a board certified ear, nose, and throat doctor, and lacks medical training in his most prominent areas, including hormone therapy, thyroid disorder, and yeast infections. His practice focuses heavily on promoting the pseudoscientific practice of alternative medicine, which he got behind in the 1980’s. Among his unsupported claims include that his hormones treat cancer, that if men lack testicles they struggle to read maps, and that birth control makes women less attractive.

Ideological and Institutional Affiliations

Hotze primarily works through his private practice, the Hotze Health & Wellness Center based in Katy, Texas. The majority of his political work is done independently as well, with two primary exceptions.

The first exception is an organization run by Hotze entitled Conservative Republicans of Texas. This organization is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, due to the work they’ve done in opposing LGBTQ+ rights around the Houston, Texas area.

The second exception is his work with the group Coalition on Revival, a Christian Reconstructionist group that believed medical malpractice lawsuits were unbiblical. Hotze was a part of this group around the same time that he began promoting alternative medicine.

Hotze has also appeared on various television programs to promote his work, most notably the CBS Early Show to promote an obscure theory of hypothyroidism, which was widely disputed by professional associations such as the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, due to his claims being “erroneous” and “readily refuted by a large body of scientific evidence.”

Core Activism

Hotze’s main form of activism comes from his financial support of the Republican Party. Having amassed a great deal of wealth from his time working in the hormone replacement field, which he notably used to sponsor a series of anti-gay politicians during the 1980s known as the “Straight Slate.”

The most notable incident of Hotze’s support for anti-trans policies comes from his opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. In an attempt to get this act repealed, Hotze spent over $350,000 in funding efforts to raise political advertisements and to support certain political candidates. 

During this campaign Hotze compared gay people to murderers and same-sex marriage to the Holocaust. He likewise referred to transfeminine people as “perverts” during talks of bathroom integration. He went into detail in his descriptions of people such as Caitlyn Jenner as modeling this behavior. He referred to trans people as “fruitcakes”, as well. 

Hotze was successful in his efforts to get the act repealed, with it being overturned in 2015. It is unclear, however, just what specific role he played in these efforts and how much can be exactly attributed to him, as many people played a substantial role in opposing this ordinance.

In 2016, Hotze attempted to lead a mass boycott of Target as a result of their explicitly transgender friendly bathroom policy. This was met with resistance, as a greater number of counter-protesters went against him, giving him numerous “boos.”

Hotze also created his Liberty Center for God and Country to support lawsuits he makes in his political campaigning activities, which primarily are related to political rhetoric that mirrors what would be seen with the Trump campaign.

Court or Legislative Appearances

Hotze made an appearance among the Texas in March of 2023 to testify in favor of Texas SB 14, a bill that would prohibit transgender minors from transitioning. During his testimony, he made repeated statements in which he insisted that transgender people are pedophiles. He also insisted that gender affirmative medical models are “perversions.”

Following an exchange with a State Senator, Hotze responded to a claim by the senator that trans people are just trying to live their authentic lives by saying “that’s bullsh*t.” This led to him being removed from the courtroom due to profanity.

Hotze was also part of a successful lawsuit that would allow employers to deny coverage of the HIV medication PReP under their health insurance, citing religious freedom as his motivation. The LGBTQ+ population suffers from HIV at a much greater rate than the general population. This disproportionate rate was the motivation for the lawsuit.

Most notably, Hotze - in collaboration with Bear Creek Bible Church - sued the Supreme Court in order to allow hiring discrimination of LGBTQ+ people. This was a suit that he later ended up winning, as of June 2023.

Criminal Charges

Hotze is currently facing a legal battle in which he faces two criminal charges, one for unlawful restraint and another for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This was during his attempt to search for evidence of voter fraud in his county for the 2020 election, of which he hired numerous private investigators.

A former police officer and captain of Houston police restrained and assaulted an air conditioner repairman allegedly on behalf of Hotze during this campaign fraud effort. While the former police officer claimed numerous false ballots were present in the repairman’s vehicle, none were actually found.

Hotze paid the former police officer $266,000 total, with over $210,000 in payments being made just one day after the assault. This was on top of over $300,000 in payments to over 20 private investigators in an attempt to investigate election fraud claims.

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