Johnathan Gooch, Equality Texas, (512) 922-4040, firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 10, 2023
This year, we have already seen more anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed than in the 2021 regular session, even before the gavel has fallen. During 2021 millions of LGBTQ+ Texans found their private lives at the center of a very public debate. Our coalition has a simple message for our elected officials in the capital: The dignity of LGBTQ+ people is not up for debate. We are committed to fighting and defeating every bill that would harm, silence, or erase our community. We have always risen to the challenge and will continue to do so for our communities.
Texas legislators have assembled a slate of invasive bills that spy on our teachers, pry into our medical decisions, and dictate our brunch entertainment. They call us radical, consider for yourself: Is it radical to believe that kids should learn about the world ahead of them, including the stories of LGBTQ+ people? Is it radical that families and doctors should be able to make private medical decisions without the government looking over their shoulder? Is it radical to believe that business owners, not politicians, should decide when and whether to host a drag performance?
Year after year we have proven that the love of our community is stronger than any ounce of hate. Our community is resilient, but we shouldn’t have to be. Our organizations are committed to preserving fundamental Texas values: privacy, dignity, and family. We will be championing bills that address homelessness in our community, comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination, and laws that secure the dignity and safety of trans people, who face a very real risk of violence in this state.
Our coalition today brings news of an age-old truth: LGBTQ+ people are just like every other Texan. We want to live our lives free of government intrusion, enjoy the nature and beauty of our state, and eat good bbq. And we know that Texans have our backs.
Statement from Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas:
“While bills as absurd as the Drag Tax seem like a joke, there is nothing funny about the surveillance state that Texas lawmakers hope to enforce this legislative session. School classrooms are being censored for all references to LGBTQ+ characters. Young people are being denied health care that could save their lives and parents prosecuted for loving their children. We believe in dignity for all Texans, and we will not sit idly by while our LGBTQ+ neighbors are being stripped of their basic rights.”
Statement from Transgender Education Network of Texas, Executive Director, Emmett Schelling (he/him/his) :
“This legislative session like the countless ones before, TENT is ready to make a show of force, Texans are done being sold to the highest bidder by our states leaders. The Transgender Education Network of Texas and our equality coalition continue to fight for the dignity for all Texans, and with the wind at our backs and history of resilience, we are ready. Trans Texans live in pride and beautiful authenticity, no matter the battle we face. Texas continues to break records for the most anti progressive bills filed, Trans Texans and our allies continue to break records stopping them.”
Statement from Oni Blair, ACLU of Texas executive director:
“LGBTQIA+ Texans are a part of this state and will never stop living openly and authentically. But the current onslaught of political attacks against LGBTQIA+ Texans — particularly transgender and intersex youth — is devastating and needs to stop. We must join together to fend off these cruel attacks and fight for a Texas where every person can live and thrive.”
Statement from Shelly Skeen, Senior Attorney, Lambda Legal:
“To date, no less than 35 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been pre-filed for the 2023 Texas state legislative session. These bills criminalize doctors and parents who support and provide best-practice health care for trans youth, ban correcting gender markers on birth certificates, target drag shows, censor classroom content including restricting the discussion of human sexuality, and ban transgender k-12 and college students from participating in interscholastic and collegiate sports. The target could not be more obvious, and the real danger to the health and lives of transgender youth more dire. However, as was true during the 2021 Texas legislative onslaught, Lambda Legal stands ready alongside our Texas partners to do all we can to stem this tide of anti-LGBTQ+ hate and ensure all Texans – including LGBTQ+ Texans and Texans living with HIV – are protected at home, in school, and at work.”
Statement from Texas Freedom Network President Val Benavidez:
“Going into this legislative session, we already know there are politicians in this state who somehow cannot see the beauty added to our state by the LGBTQIA+ community. Last session, they did everything they could to target LGBTQIA+ Texans–taking aim at transgender kids and harming innocent children just to score political points. Their cruelty continued in 2022 when loving families were attacked for providing their trans children with lifesaving medical care. The lives of Texans are not political playthings. As we enter this session, we’re dedicated to drowning out these vicious attacks with love and action as we advocate for inclusive, equitable policies that expand the rights of LGBTQIA+ Texans.”
Statement from Preston Knight, Texas Organizing and Coalitions Lead, the Human Rights Campaign:
“Power-hungry anti-equality politicians in the Texas state house are once again bullying LGBTQ+ children and terrorizing our families. These politicians are spreading hateful propaganda and creating more stigma, discrimination, and violence against transgender and non-binary people just to rile up extremist members of their base.
“Before legislative session gaveled in today, anti-equality members in the Texas legislature continued their attacks on LGBTQ+ Texans with more discriminatory legislation. These bills are not solving problems Texans face on a daily basis. They’re crafted with the harmful goal of seeking to block LGBTQ+ Texans’ access to life-saving medical care; our right to make choices about our own bodies; our right to dignity; and frankly, our right to exist.
“The Human Rights Campaign is dedicated and invested in Texas, with staff on the ground, working with in-state partners to defeat this legislation and protect the lives of LGBTQ+ 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.