Our Pledge to Anti-Racism

Open Enrollment is Here!

The time is here for you to join the millions of Americans who receive health care coverage through HealthCare.Gov.

The LGBTQ community is under attack by the Trump Administration—especially when it comes to health care. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”), the uninsured rate for low- and middle-income LGBTQ people has dropped by an overwhelming 35%. More LGBTQ people have health insurance than ever before — and that means access to health care we need, from life-saving HIV drugs to gender affirming health services.

Even now, the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever. There are more insurers than before, prices are stable, and 8 in 10 people get a discount on their premiums. In fact, most people can find health insurance for under $75/month.

You can still expect to be treated fairly and protected from discrimination in health insurance AND health care. We know the headlines are confusing — and our community is under attack — but nothing has changed when it comes to health care.

Open Enrollment doesn’t last forever. Get your coverage NOW by following these steps:

  • Head to HealthCare.Gov today to check out the plans.
  • Get free, LGBTQ-friendly help from someone who understands your health insurance questions. Make an appointment here.
  • Sign up for your plan by December 15th! If you don’t enroll by then, you may be locked out of health insurance until 2019.

Make sure you and your loved ones get the health insurance you need before December 15, 2018.

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Press Release – ELECTION RECAP: EQUALITY IS A WINNING MESSAGE

November 7, 2018 by Chuck Smith

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Angela Hale, Equality Texas, 512.289.2995 angela@redmediagroup.com

ELECTION RECAP: EQUALITY IS A WINNING MESSAGE

Author of the Bathroom Bill in Texas House Goes Down in Defeat

Austin, TX (November 7, 2018) – Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBT Texans, today is celebrating election results from the 2018 mid-term elections.  Pro-equality candidates won up and down the ballot in Texas and many of the most extreme anti-LGBT candidates lost their seats in the Texas House and Senate.  The political landscape is shifting in Texas and these results show we are closer than ever before to our goal of ensuring that every LGBTQ Texan has full legal and lived equality.

“Make no mistake, the political map changed in Texas last night.  Candidates up and down the ballot who ran on pro-equality messages had unprecedented success, and openly LGBTQ candidates across the state made history.  The author of the bathroom bill in Texas, Rep. Ron Simmons went down in defeat, as did several of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ members of the Texas Senate,” said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas.

Equality Texas invested in get-out-the-vote work in key races and proved that equality is a winning message:

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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. 

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ELECTION RECAP: EQUALITY IS A WINNING MESSAGE

November 7, 2018 by Chuck Smith

Make no mistake. The political map changed in Texas last night. Candidates up and down the ballot who ran on pro-equality messages had unprecedented success, and openly LGBTQ candidates across the state made history.

Look at what we accomplished in Texas:

While we wish Beto O’Rourke were joining the U.S. Senate, there was also plenty to celebrate across the country, including the defeat of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples in open defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court; the huge margin of victory in the Massachusetts statewide ballot initiative affirming transgender rights; and the election of an openly gay candidate as governor of Colorado.

With these results, we are closer than ever before to our goal of ensuring that every LGBTQ Texan has full legal and lived equality.  

We’ll share more soon about the hard work ahead to build on these results. But for now, we just want to express our gratitude for all you’ve done to make these victories possible.

Thanks to you, we demonstrated last night that equality is a Texas value.

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Statement from Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas

November 6, 2018 by Chuck Smith

Statement from Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas:

The political map is changing in Texas tonight, and we see signs in this election of a bright future for the Lone Star State. Candidates up and down the ballot who ran on pro-equality messages had unprecedented success, including defeating anti-equality members of the Texas House and Senate. Equality Voters are an emerging force in Texas and these results show that equality is a Texas value.

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Equality Texas Statement on Federal Lawsuit Filed by Transgender Woman

November 6, 2018 by Chuck Smith

Equality Texas is alarmed to learn that a transgender woman, Valerie Jackson, was allegedly forced to show her genitals to officers at the Dallas County jail. This action by jailers is contrary to the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and the Dallas County jail’s own policy.  

Jackson has filed a federal lawsuit against Dallas County alleging harassment and mistreatment.  

“On the streets or in jail, all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” says Lou Weaver, Transgender Programs Coordinator for Equality Texas. “When jailers house transgender women with male inmates, they put them at high risk of assault. These actions by Dallas County deputies demonstrate an alarming misunderstanding of the factors that should go into housing decisions. No one should be subjected to such treatment.”

According to the lawsuit, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Shelley Knight conceded that some procedures were not followed while Jackson was in the jail. The suit goes on to say the policy violations were not properly investigated.

“Equality Texas will be following this case closely,” Chuck Smith, Equality Texas CEO says. “Jail policies and procedures should be consistent across the state and should be aimed at protecting the most vulnerable populations.”

 

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. 

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Your Election Day Toolkit – Queer the Vote, Y’all!

November 6, 2018 by Chuck Smith

Happy Election Day! With so much on the line in these midterms, we need every equality voter to show up and cast your vote. Our community is counting on us!  Just to make it easy, here’s everything you need to get out and vote today!

Today is the day to make our voices heard! Do your part for equality by voting today.

Rebecca Robertson

Chief Program Officer, Equality Texas

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URGENT ALERT: Aggressive Legal Assault on LGBTQ Rights

October 29, 2018 by Chuck Smith

The proponents of religious refusal laws are on the offensive in Texas. As you may have heard, a group of extremists known for aggressive anti-LGBTQ advocacy filed three lawsuits in a matter of hours earlier this month seeking to undermine existing civil rights protections and twist the First Amendment into a new constitutional right to discriminate.  This alarming development makes your vote for pro-equality candidates all the more critical.

Steven Hotze, David Welch, Texas Values, and the U.S. Pastors’ Council have filed three coordinated lawsuits intended to blow a huge hole in our nation’s civil rights laws. Hotze, Welch, and Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz are among the most virulent anti-LGBTQ extremists in Texas, known for their incendiary rhetoric and tactics.

They’ve sued the City of Austin in state and federal court seeking to invalidate that city’s non-discrimination ordinance on the grounds that having to treat LGBTQ employees, customers, and tenants fairly violates their religious liberty. And they’ve sued the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission in federal court, asking for a nationwide class action on behalf of “all churches” and “all business” who want to discriminate in hiring, firing, and compensation.

The goal of these suits is to roll back the progress we’ve made toward equality and relegate LGBTQ people to permanent second-class status.

So what does all this have to do with voting? Unfortunately, the extremism espoused by the litigants over the years has not made them pariahs in Texas politics. To the contrary, some elected officials in Texas collaborate openly with Hotze, Saenz, Welch, Texas Values, and the Pastors Council, co-hosting events with them at the Capitol, headlining each other’s events, and working together on legislation and strategy. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who sets the agenda in the Texas Senate, is a close ally.

The lawsuits therefore signal what is likely ahead for the 2019 session—rewriting the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacting other religious refusal laws, and rolling back the local protections passed by Texas municipalities. As difficult as the 2017 legislative session was, if Hotze, Saenz, and Welch are calling the shots, 2019 will be much worse.

Clearly, the enemies of equality are emboldened, and we must mobilize our community to confront the danger posed by these aggressive new tactics. From now until Election Day, we have to do all we can to elect pro-equality candidates.

Early voting ends November 2, and Election Day is November 6. Make sure you vote and that your friends and family understand what’s at stake.

Chuck Smith
CEO, Equality Texas

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EQTX Statement on Trump Administration’s Anti-Transgender Crusade

October 22, 2018 by Chuck Smith

As reported by The New York Times, the Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a government-wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

STATEMENT FROM EQUALITY TEXAS TRANSGENDER PROGRAMS COORDINATOR, LOU WEAVER:

It’s appalling that the very people charged with enforcing our nation’s civil rights laws would take extraordinary steps to exclude transgender Americans from civil rights protections—especially since transgender people experience discrimination at much higher rates than other Americans. Transgender Texans are understandably worried that the Trump Administration wants to write them out of existence by executive fiat.  But administration memos cannot reverse the tide of federal court decisions recognizing that discrimination against someone because of gender identity or gender expression is sex discrimination under Title IX and other civil rights laws.

STATEMENT FROM EQUALITY TEXAS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CHUCK SMITH:

Equality Texas will not stop fighting until everyone has the right to earn a living, access healthcare, and get an education without fear of discrimination because of who they are or whom they love. Let’s show this administration that we’re not backing down. Help us send a message by coming Out for Equality this Saturday, October 27 to vote for pro-equality candidates up and down the ticket and to mobilize equality voters to get to the polls. With so much at stake, we owe it to each other—and to those being targeted—to make this election count!

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LGBTQ Day of Action this Saturday!

October 22, 2018 by Chuck Smith

 

Mark your calendar for Out for Equality: an LGBTQ Day of Action, this Saturday, October 27!

Early voting is officially underway in Texas, and in these challenging times, we must send a message to politicians of both parties that equality IS a Texas value. So we’re teaming up with HRC and other equality advocates across the state to turn out together for equality–and for each other.  Here’s how you can get involved:

If we stand together, we can build a state where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person has full legal and lived equality. This Saturday, we need you to come Out for Equality by voting and volunteering to turn out even more voters.

Our community is counting on us!

Chuck Smith

CEO, Equality Texas

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Kavanaugh confirmed. What you can do now.

October 6, 2018 by Chuck Smith

It is a sad state of affairs that the United States Senate today confirmed the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court after he displayed a lack of truthfulness under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and failed to show the judicial temperament required of a fair and impartial Justice.

We continue to believe Brett Kavanaugh’s dishonesty and blatant partisanship are not the qualities of someone who should be a Supreme Court Justice, and his confirmation is a sad commentary on where we are as a country.

The only way to prevent these types of actions from happening again is for each and every one of us to exercise our voice as Americans and as Texans by voting in the November general election to elect public officials who recognize the importance of truth, honesty, justice and the fair and equal treatment of every resident of this great country.

The stakes are simply too high for any one of us to sit on the sidelines. Our vote is our power. We must use it!

This Tuesday, October 9th is the deadline to register to vote for the November general election.  You can register in person at your county’s voter registrar office.   Most post offices, libraries, and high schools also provide the application needed. Mailed applications must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, October 9th.

You can confirm your existing voter registration here.

Check out Equality Texas’ endorsed candidates at Queer the Vote, Y’all.

We need volunteers to help with our Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts. Sign up to volunteer here.

Let’s make every day count! Let’s make every vote count!

Onward,
Chuck Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Equality Texas

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