The anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric has been loud lately. For the past few weeks some state leaders have taken every opportunity to paint the LGBTQ+ community as a threat, committing publicly to policies they will champion through the next legislative session.
This week alone the Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, pledged to extend the harmful anti-transgender sports ban to the collegiate level and bring Florida’s notorious “Don’t say gay/trans” bill to Texas. These comments were on the heels of Attorney General Paxton purposely misinterpreting state law to baselessly threaten pharmaceutical companies and Austin ISD’s Pride Week.
None of these threats hold the weight of law. But they’re also more than empty rhetoric.
For LGBTQ+ Texans who just want to live, work, and contribute to their communities in peace the constant chatter about potential attacks is exhausting. On top of that, all the noise creates confusion about what is and isn’t current law, feeding into a climate of fear where teachers don’t know if they can affirm their LGBTQ+ students, trans Texans are terrified they won’t have access to healthcare, healthcare providers are scared of providing life-saving care to trans patients, and kids are afraid to be themselves.
Beneath the noise, our community experiences real harm. We know that banning books, or targeting students based on race, genders, or religion has a direct impact on the bullying, harassment, and violence we see in our communities. We’re continuing to receive reports of kids being bullied and patients refused care just because of who they are. Our focus has to be on our community and how we can support them. Movement towards change can be slow, but it’s far more lasting than the media cycle our state leaders are playing to.
We’re making an intentional investment in grassroots organizing and electing pro-equality candidates this year. Help us gear up for 2023 by participating in organizing events across the state.
The injunction pausing CPS investigations into loving families with transgender children is still awaiting review at the Texas Supreme Court. At stake is whether or not the injunction will continue throughout the course of the original lawsuit against the Governor’s directive to the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS).
The injunction is crucial to avoiding irreparable harm to Texas transgender kids and those who love them through baseless investigations. Equality Texas, TENT, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund have filed an amicus, or “friend of the court” brief elevating stories about how the Governor’s directive has already harmed families across the state. Sharing these stories with the public creates windows into the lives of families that could be any family, just trying to do what’s best for their children.
Storytelling and visibility make change. Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) was last week and our community showed up for each other in a big way. Hundreds of Texans gathered on the Capitol steps at a rally last Saturday hosted by the All in for Equality Coalition made up of Equality Texas, the Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal.
Over 200 community members and healthcare professionals showed up at a recent protest against UT Southwestern’s decision to limit medically necessary, life-saving care for transgender youth.
These events weren’t in isolation. Texans truly embodied this TDOV as a day of joy, recognition, and power all across a state that seeks to silence us.
We will continue to gather, make noise, and fight back against the rhetoric, the policies, and the culture of fear created by some politicians in an effort to hold onto power.
Become a volunteer today. Only by doing the work can we change the hearts and minds of our state.