Equality Texas, Johnathan Gooch, email@example.com, (737) 308-2331
Texas Freedom Network, Emily Witt, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-538-5692
ACLU of Texas, Kristi Gross, email@example.com
TENT, Sadie Hernandez, firstname.lastname@example.org, (737)328-6850
Lambda Legal, Tom Warnke, TWarnke@lambdalegal.org
Human Rights Campaign, Elisabeth Rutledge, email@example.com
July 13, 2023
In recent years trans Texans have sustained an assault unmatched in the history of our state. This is a human rights crisis. We, the All in for Equality coalition, are committed to pursuing every path to justice and full equality for transgender and LGBQ+ people in this state. We affirm our solidarity with the trans youth in this state who deserve access to clinically effective and medically necessary health care. Yesterday, the ACLU of Texas, ACLU national, Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center, along with Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP, and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP filed a lawsuit challenging S.B. 14, which would deny medically necessary health care to trans youth. We unequivocally support the actions of our legal partners in the pursuit of justice for trans youth.
When the impeached Attorney General, Ken Paxton, pushed forward an illegitimate legal theory in a nonbinding opinion that targeted families with transgender children, the Governor unscrupulously used that opinion to threaten to break apart Texas families. Despite the fact that the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the AG’s opinion held no weight and the Governor’s actions exceeded his authority, the Department of Family and Protective Services has not ended the unjust, unconscionable investigations.
During the most recent regular legislative session, over 140 bills were filed that attacked LGBTQIA+ Texans, attempting to further restrict and eliminate rights that are freely available to cisgender and heterosexual Texans. The Governor has signed 7 of those bills into law, including S.B. 14. And with more special sessions looming, the rights of LGBTQIA+ Texans may be threatened again. Unsurprisingly, trans Texans and their families have been leaving the state. No one should have to leave this state for being persecuted by their own elected officials and denied rights afforded to every other Texan.
In the wake of increasingly violent and degrading language targeting LGBTQIA+ Texans—often emerging from the mouths of state leaders—we have seen an increase in armed protesters intimidating LGBTQIA+ people at safe spaces, like drag events, across the state. And in the past year we have seen a spike in hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBTQIA+ community.
When we say lives are on the line, we are not exaggerating. Among recently passed legislation, S.B. 14 places the most lives at risk. Trans folks deserve to have the health care they need readily available, and to participate in decisions that allow them to live their fullest lives. Banning health care that is supported by the overwhelming majority of medical associations puts young people in danger. It is an unjust, unconstitutional law that does not reflect the true values of the majority of Texans, who overwhelmingly believe that their LGBTQIA+ siblings should be protected from discrimination by the state, not targeted by our state leaders.
Statement from Ash Hall, Policy & Advocacy Strategist at ACLU of Texas:
“We must continue to move forward in defending transgender Texans from bullying disguised as policy. Transgender youth and their families are already being harmed by S.B. 14, as they lose access to life-saving medical care and feel pressured to hide from the world or flee our state. But transgender people have always been here and no law can stop us from being who we are. We will not back down until we are safe, happy, and healthy living with our families in Texas, our home.”
Statement from Emmett Schelling (he/him), Executive Director of Transgender Education Network of Texas:
“The immediate impact SB14 had on our community is incredibly serious. Texas continues to be one of the most dangerous and hostile places for transgender people and their families. We will continue to support all avenues in the fight against transphobia and hate. Access to healthcare is a crucial part of our community’s livelihood just like anyone else’s. This litigation is the next step in our fight to create a Texas where trans and gender expansive folks can not only survive, but thrive in the state they call home.”
Statement from Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas:
“The attack on our community has been relentless, so we have matched that assault with formidable Texas grit. When wolves in the statehouse threaten trans children, we circle the wagons. We will pursue every path to justice and defend against every attack. All Texas kids deserve safety and security, especially trans young people, who have the courage to boldly proclaim their truth despite taunts and jabs from leaders at the highest echelons of state government. This fight is not over until every child in this state is safe, healthy, and free.”
Statement from Shelly L. Skeen, Regional Director in the South Central Region of Lambda Legal:
“When one subset of people are targeted for different treatment, denied rights, excluded and discriminated against because of who they are and because of their lived experiences, laws are violated. Every Texan deserves respect and dignity for who they are, period end of story. But when our state government and legislators actively engage in a years’ long campaign to target families who are simply trying to do the best they can for their kids on the advice of healthcare professionals–more than dignity is at stake, the health and wellbeing of those we love could be at stake. No family should be forced to make the choice between living in our state and obtaining the health care they need and fleeing our state because of unconstitutional laws. Lambda Legal applauds the AIFE Coalition for advocating on behalf of LGBTQ2SIA+ Texans to stop these unconstitutional laws.”
Statement from Melodía Gutiérrez, Texas State Director, Human Rights Campaign: “Laws that prohibit best-practice medical care because a person is transgender are discriminatory, invasive and cruel. SB14 intentionally puts transgender people at risk. We stand with transgender Texans and support all efforts to combat measures designed to harm our LGTBQ+ community. “
Statement from Val Benavidez (she/her), Executive Director of Texas Freedom Network:
“As we live through a period in our state and nation marred by the far-right’s vicious attacks on our freedoms, history will remember those who fought back as demagogues tried to erase transgender Texans. We proudly support our legal allies who are taking every action in their power to stop one of the most cruel, aggressive bans on lifesaving healthcare for transgender youth in the United States. We’ll fight alongside them as we harness the power of our grassroots movement to reject all attacks on LGBTQIA+ Texans and their loving families.
“Governor Abbott and his anti-LGBTQIA+ allies in the Legislature will undoubtedly be remembered as fear-mongers who needlessly put our children’s lives at risk, but they do not represent all Texans. We cannot let them win. Our collective power is stronger than their hate, and we will never stop fighting to ensure all people are embraced and safe in our state.”
The All in for Equality Coalition is a group of leading Texas nonprofits committed to the full, lived equality of LGBTQIA+ Texans.
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.
The Transgender Education Network of Texas is the largest statewide, BIPOC trans-led, trans-focused policy, education, and advocacy organization in the state of Texas.
Founded in 1995, the Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of more than 150,000 religious and community leaders who support religious freedom, individual liberties and public education.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is the leading civil rights organization in the Lone Star State. Since our formation in 1938, we have worked in the courts, the legislature, and through public education to protect civil rights and individual liberty.
Lambda Legal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
The Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where every member of the LGBTQ+ family has the freedom to live their truth without fear, and with equality under the law. We empower our 3 million members and supporters to mobilize against attacks on the most marginalized people in our community.