About Equality Texas
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About Equality Texas


We envision a Texas where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans and their families have full equality in the hearts and minds of our fellow Texans and in all areas of the law.


Equality Texas works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.

The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.

Pledge to Anti-Racism

We exist to advance the rights of historically marginalized communities. We want to build the foundation that allows for intersectional pride, but that cannot occur unless we all show up and bring attention to the state of emergency Black Americans are in. We are committed to operating according to anti-racist principles, read our full commitment here.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDIJ)

An attack on one Texan is an attack on all Texans.

Equality Texas and Equality Texas Foundation (EQTX) exist to ensure that LGBTQIA+ Texans have the same opportunities and rights to lead prosperous and joyful lives without fear. Our path to equality for all LGBTQIA+ Texans requires a focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice within our state, our organization, and our community.

EQTX will continue our advocacy to achieve the rights LGBTQIA+ Texans deserve. As we do this, we commit to being an organization where our board, staff and volunteers reflect and celebrate the depth and breadth of Texan experiences. We further commit to building an inclusive and equitable work environment that fosters the trust and safety necessary for everyone to share their perspectives, experiences, and identities. We further commit to engaging our partners in respectful and intentional ways that promote EDIJ.

We know we are not alone, and we welcome, make space for, and are better because of the multifaceted identities of every LGBTQIA+ Texan and ally.

Our Two Branches

Equality Texas and the Equality Texas Foundation work in unison to realize the same mission. They house different components of our work, and each accept donations.

Equality Texas is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, serving as the largest nonpartisan statewide political advocacy organization working for the elimination of discrimination targeting the LGTBQ+ community. This work occurs primarily within, but not limited to, odd-numbered years when the Texas Legislature is in session. During the session, Equality Texas works to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ Texans alongside pro-equality legislators and protects LGBTQ+ Texans from legislative attacks. Because this branch directly lobbies state leadership, contributions to Equality Texas are not considered tax-deductible. Donate here. 

Equality Texas Foundation programs are designed to meet individuals where they’re at in their advocacy journey, providing the issue education and skill-building training necessary to confidently exercise activists’ individual and collective power to advance LGBTQ+ rights and fight anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Texas. Equality Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and donations can be considered tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Donate here. 

From LGRL to Equality Texas

Our Legacy of Fighting for Equality

In 1978, a group of lesbians and gay men recognized the need to have our interests represented in the 66th session of the Texas Legislature. These men and women formed the “Human Rights Advocates.” This organization and its lobbyists were able to defeat an appropriations rider that mandated state-funded colleges and universities to discourage the formation of lesbian/gay student groups.

In 1980, lesbians and gay men again recognized the need to be represented in the state government. Members of the Lesbian/Gay Democrats of Texas and the Texas Gay Task Force hired a lobbyist to monitor the 67th session and lobby on behalf of lesbian and gay interests.

In January 1982, TGTF and LGDT called a meeting to address the lobby efforts of lesbians and gay men. At this meeting, the Lesbian/Gay Rights Advocates was created.

In 1986, LGRA became “LGRL,” or the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. The Lobby hired a full-time Executive Director to fight for the rights of lesbians and gay men.

In 1990, the Allan G. Calkin Human Rights Education and Research Fund was established and operated as LGRL’s charitable arm. Its goal was to educate the public about how policies regarding sexual orientation affect the lives of lesbian and gay Texans.

In 2006, LGRL became Equality Texas. The change was made to reflect the enormous growth in the organization and represent the strength and diversity of the coalition that was galvanized during the campaign to defeat proposition #2, Texas’ so-called “defense of marriage” amendment to the state constitution.

Equality Texas is now the state’s leading advocacy organization defending the rights of LGBTQ Texans against attack, with tens of thousands of members across the state.


  • Led the fight for stronger hate crime laws; helped pass the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act through the House; brought national attention to anti-gay hate crimes in Texas.
  • Defeated measures that would prevent gays and lesbians from serving as foster and adoptive parents.
  • Defeated the anti-gay marriage bills that would have prevented the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages and civil unions, 1997, 1999, and 2001.
  • Increased AIDS and HIV funding; facilitated the passage of the Omnibus AIDS bill; pressed for adoption of HIV grant programs and HIV services funding.
  • Won appointment of openly gay and lesbian people to state commissions.
  • Achieved the adoption of nondiscrimination policies protecting lesbian and gay employees in five major state agencies.
  • Defeated attempts to quarantine PWA’s; blocked proposed legislation to mandate HIV testing.
  • Working in coalition with other groups, defeated the enactment of initiative and referendum which would have subject us to anti-gay ballot measures.
  • Successfully lobbied for the passage of anti-redlining bills prohibiting discrimination on the basis of martial status which protects lesbians and gays.
  • Stopped legislation that would have prohibited state government from providing benefits to domestic partners.
  • Defeated efforts to deny funding for art with any homosexual content.
  • Successfully defeated 19 of the 20 anti-LGBTQ bills filed during the 2019 86th Legislative Session. The one that was passed, SB 1978 — one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ bills introduced  — was gutted and what eventually passed simply reaffirms First Amendment protections for the right to associate.
  • In 2019, saw 6 pro-LGBTQ bills pro-active bills make it to a legislative hearing for the first time, including  ban on conversion therapy, elimination of the gay/trans panic defense, and adding gender identity to the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act.