It was never about sports

Last week the Governor signed HB 25, the anti-transgender sports ban, which will take effect on January 18. Since the signing, after 10 months of very public anti-transgender rhetoric, the intent of the unrelenting attack has become crystal clear: it was never about sports. Stigmatizing and dehumanizing transgender Texans is just the beginning of a long-term plan to roll back the hard-won progress made since Stonewall.

In just the past two weeks, opponents of equality have set their sights on LGBTQ+ youth in public schools and marriage equality, perpetuating the culture of fear they championed while the legislature was in session.

Representative James White, now a candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, sent a request to notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ Attorney General Ken Paxton to weigh in on whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision on marriage equality must be enforced in Texas considering that Texas law currently requires marriages to be between “one man and one woman.”

Although bills are introduced every session to update Texas law to match SCOTUS precedent, not one has yet to pass the state legislature. Opinions by the Attorney General are non-binding, so Paxton’s decision will not change the fact that Texas does have to abide by SCOTUS precedent and continue recognizing marriage equality.

Meanwhile, AG Paxton’s primary opponent, Representative Matt Krause, launched an investigation into Texas school districts over what books are available in libraries and individual classrooms. His self-described goal is to eliminate any books that could “make students feel discomfort” over their race or sex. His list of 850 targeted titles includes many that seek to promote acceptance and understanding about the LGBTQ+ community and break down gender norms.

Governor Abbott doubled down on Krause’s inquiry, sending a letter to the Texas Association of School Boards to determine the extent to which “pornography or other inappropriate content” exists in public schools, after a viral parent complaint about Gender Queer, by Maia Kobabe, a coming-of-age memoir about gender and sexuality.

These attacks confirm what we knew all along – the demonization of transgender youth is part of the ongoing strategy to build momentum against the community as a whole. We continue to receive reports of an increasingly hostile school climate for LGBTQ+ students all over Texas – increased bullying, being denied access to restrooms, and days of missed education in in-school-suspension just for their gender expression.

What’s Next? 

Equality Texas is hard at work with our state partners Lambda Legal, ACLU of Texas, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, HRC, and the Texas Freedom Network to create resources for parents and kids to know what their rights are regarding HB 25 and what to do if a student is accused of being on the “wrong” team.

We’re also gearing up for the 2022 elections, our best opportunity to hold legislators accountable for their actions this session. The elections across the country last week rewarded politicians who campaigned on fear mongering — whether it was censoring conversations about race at school, perpetuating the spectre of voter fraud in the 2020 elections, or painting transgender youth as a threat.

In order to stop this momentum, we’ll all have to turn out for the truth and for each other. Turn OUT for Texas this election cycle and support our electoral work.

But it’s not all bad

During this week’s election the city of Pflugerville voted to add explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and move to gender-neutral wording in their city charter. There are no statewide or federal protections for the LGBTQ+ community, so every Texas city that chooses nondiscrimination goes a long way to keeping us all safe.

We accomplished a lot this session. We held the line for 9 months, beating back a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Though HB 25 passed, the result would have been much worse had it not been for your steadfast support.

This year:

300+ Equality Texans showed up to testify at the State Capitol;
600+ Equality Texans gathered at 19 rallies;
800+ written testimonies were submitted in opposition to anti-LGBTQ+ bills;
750 advocates attended 27 E² trainings;

Contributing to the defeat of 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

This is the power of our community. This is how we band together to make the world a safer place for every LGBTQ+ Texan. Though the road is long, we’ve built something amazing this year that is just the beginning.

Click here to support Equality Texas and help us engage and educate voters in the upcoming elections. Let’s continue to work together to ensure we never experience another legislative year like this one.

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Anti-trans sports ban signed into law

October 25, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Today, Governor Abbott signed HB 25 into law, despite the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families, and advocates, and the many emails and calls to his office asking him to veto this harmful piece of legislation.

This bill will require K-12 youth to participate in sports according to the gender on their birth certificate, essentially banning transgender and intersex youth from participating in line with their gender identity and barring them from the friendship, education, teamwork, and health benefits of playing a sport. Let us be clear: this is cruel, dehumanizing, and harmful.

The harm caused by this brand new law is already prevalent. Transgender youth bravely told their stories directly while advocates like Equality Texas presented data on the increase in bullying, calls to suicide hotlines, and physical assault stemming from the rhetoric from hearings and debates about anti-trans sports bans. Our pleas for dignity, respect, and the safety of trans and intersex kids in schools went unheard and in some cases was blatantly ignored by the elected officials responsible for this law. Our message to these lawmakers is simple: we will not forget this. By waging a 10-month assault decrying the humanity of transgender Texan children, they have violated their civic duty to represent and protect their constituents.

Equality Texas wants you to Turn OUT for Texas. We must hold lawmakers accountable for their cruelty and violation of their duties. And we need your help.

Donate to our Turn OUT for Texas Education Fundto support our voter education work ahead of the 2022 elections and make sure we never have to experience another legislative year like this one

Our inboxes have been flooded with a marked increase in inquiries for help from school teachers, parents, and children in Texas. Some of the heartbreaking stories we’ve heard this year describe an increase in bullying, physical assault, and anti-LGBTQ+ actions directly from administrators. If our school districts won’t protect LGBTQ+ youth, we must elect lawmakers who will.

We know why this is happening: this year in special session after special session the legislature cruelly fanned the flames of anti-LGBTQ+ hate in this state in an attempt to gain votes through fear. We can’t let hate win. Only by electing pro-equality candidates can we ensure that horrific legislation like HB 25 and worse doesn’t pass in 2023.

Invest in changing in the hearts and minds of fellow Texans today and for the future. Help us establish a strong foundation by giving a one-time donation or joining the Texas GEMS, our group of monthly donors. It’s been a long and brutal assualt, but we will not stop fighting to protect our community. We won’t let a handful of extremists speak for the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EQUALITY TEXAS RELEASES STATEMENT ON GOV. ABBOTT SIGNING OF ANTI-TRANSGENDER HB 25

October 25, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Contact: Debi Jackson | debi.jackson@equalitytexas.org

     Angela Hale | angela.hale@equalitytexas.org

 

October 25, 2021 – AUSTIN, TEXAS – Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, today released a statement on Gov. Abbott’s signing of anti-transgender HB 25. Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas, released the following statement:

“We are devastated at the passage of this bill. Despite the powerful advocacy and testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, and the many emails and calls our community placed to the Governor’s office to veto this harmful piece of legislation, it is now law. Most immediately, our focus is our community and integrating concepts of healing justice to provide advocates who have already been harmed by this bill with spaces to refill their cup and unpack the acute trauma caused by these legislative sessions. Our organization will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong.

“It’s been a long and brutal fight, but we will not stop fighting to protect our community and secure the nondiscrimination protections we need so that all young people can thrive and live out their fullest potential. Trans kids and adults in Texas — and everywhere — deserve love and support, peace of mind, healthcare, happiness, to be carefree and focus on living out their greatest potential. They deserve not to be debated but affirmed and the right to exist without their government trying to push them out of everyday life. Trans people and their futures are sacred.”

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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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EQUALITY TEXAS STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF ANTI-TRANSGENDER SPORTS BAN, HB 25, TARGETING INNOCENT CHILDREN

October 17, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Contact: Angela Hale | angela.hale@equalitytexas.org

Kara Watkins-Chow | kara.watkinschow@berlinrosen.com

 

EQUALITY TEXAS STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF ANTI-TRANSGENDER SPORTS BAN, HB 25, TARGETING INNOCENT CHILDREN

AUSTIN (October 17, 2021) – Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, responded today to the passage of anti-transgender bill HB 25 and the expected implementation of the bill.

“This cruel and grotesque ban puts a target on the backs of transgender children and adults, erases intersex people and sends a clear message that transgender and intersex people aren’t welcome or safe in Texas. Instead of heeding the community outcry against the bill and listening to the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, Texas lawmakers willingly ignored the unequivocal evidence of the harm this bill (and bills like it) has already caused. Throughout four traumatizing legislative sessions, we’ve seen increased requests for help from families facing anti-LGBTQ+ threats as a result of this hostile climate. The ‘debate’ over this anti-transgender bill is already exacerbating intolerance, fueling discrimination, and solidifying Texas’ reputation as the leading state for violence against trans people. Lawmakers who supported this bill will have to live with its legacy and future impact on our communities,” said Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas. 

“Anti-transgender extremists have made it their mission to attack children, spread misinformation and stoke fear in order to advance their own political careers and twisted agendas. This is shameful. This law will deprive transgender and intersex kids of their basic rights and opportunities to play with their friends, get exercise and learn life lessons through sports. 

“It’s been a long and brutal fight, but we will not stop fighting to protect our community and secure the nondiscrimination protections we need so that all young people can thrive and live out their fullest potential. We all have a part to play in combatting anti-transgender attacks, from calling your Senator to advocating for the Equality Act, sharing critical resources like The Trevor Project crisis hotline with people in your networks, or donating to LGBTQ+ organizations championing LGBTQ+ rights. 

“Equality Texas, the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), Human Rights Campaign, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Lambda Legal and many more have our community’s back and we won’t let a handful of extremists speak for the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong.”

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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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Special Session 3 Week 4 Wrap-up: HB 25 passes the House and Senate

October 16, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Last Thursday after more than 11 hours of debate, the Texas House voted to advance HB 25, the anti-transgender sports ban. Yesterday, the Texas Senate followed suit, passing the bill with slight changes the House now needs to approve. My heart broke into pieces as we watched the last two days unfold.

My heart is broken for trans kids across Texas who have had to watch and listen to prolonged debates about their humanity and right to be included in normal school activities. My heart is broken for trans adults who will continue to face discrimination and violence in Texas by individuals emboldened by the vitriolic modeled behavior of some legislators. My heart is broken for the parents who courageously showed up time and time again to the capitol in fierce support of their innocent children. My heart is broken for the kids who will be too afraid to love themselves and live authentically because they have internalized the words of extremist politicians and as a result will not discover their magnificence. Lastly, my heart is broken for community advocates and partners whose reality became working 14 hour days to protect trans kids. And although my heart was broken Thursday night it is not beyond repair.

We did our very best during the House debate and have put up a valiant fight for the last 10 months. I truly believe that if we want the best of what the world has to offer we have to offer the world our best, and we have done that time and time again. Thank you so much for every single effort you have put into this fight. I’m so grateful and proud of everyone who have joined us on the frontlines, our community partners who have given so much of themselves to bravely lead during unprecedented and difficult times, our allied lawmakers who put up a brave fight, and all Equality Texans who understand the importance of living a life marked by authenticity, diversity, uniqueness, and the richness it brings to our communities. Hope is never lost. Even during setbacks — there is still good in the world.

You may not be able to see it now but we are planting seeds, inspiring new leaders who will emerge as a result of our collective strength, perseverance, tenacity, kindness, and bravery in the face of hate and opposition. Your presence and efforts remind me of the Texas my grandmother used to speak so lovingly about. You are my source of strength and motivation when times get tough. We will never give up our fight for the rights of trans people. Better days are coming.

 

WHAT IS NEXT:

During the House floor debate, known anti-transgender lawmaker Representative Bryan Slaton added an amendment opening the door up to physical exams of children, forcing them to “prove” their gender in order to play sports with their friends. Yesterday, the Senate took out this harmful language before passing the bill.

Because the Senate changed the House version, the next step is for the House to approve the change. This is a quick up-or-down vote without the opportunity for more amendments or lengthy speeches. We anticipate that the House will accept the removal of the Slaton language today and vote to move the bill to the Governor’s desk for his signature, the final step in the legislative process.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

 

Students on a tour to the Capitol from Mesquite High School asked for a photo. Cisgender students support their transgender friends and classmates.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EQUALITY TEXAS STATEMENT ON HOUSE PASSAGE OF HB 25

October 14, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Contact:

Angela Hale | angela.hale@equalitytexas.org

Kara Watkins-Chow | kara.watkinschow@berlinrosen.com

 

IN THE MOST EXTREME ANTI-LGBTQ+ SESSION IN TEXAS HISTORY, TEXAS HOUSE ADVANCES SPORTS BAN TARGETING TRANSGENDER CHILDREN

 

AUSTIN (October 14, 2021) — Today, the Texas House passed HB 25, an anti-transgender sports ban targeting innocent school-age children. Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, responded:

“The passage of HB 25 is a hateful, targeted attack on transgender people living in Texas,” said Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas. “Extremists in our Legislature have continuously leveraged cruel rhetoric and rampant misinformation to coordinate this attack on the transgender community — young children in particular — and have sent a clear message that Texas is not a safe place for them to live. 

“HB 25 singles out transgender children and permanently prohibits them from the foundational opportunities that sports provide children, like camaraderie with friends and learning lessons about teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy exercise. It is yet another attack in a long year that has already been the most harmful legislative year on record for LGBTQ+ Texans, with over 50 bills targeting their health, safety, and humanity. Throughout four traumatizing legislative sessions, we’ve seen increased requests for help from families facing anti-LGBTQ+ threats as a result of this hostile climate. The “debate” over this anti-transgender bill is already exacerbating intolerance, fueling discrimination, and solidifying Texas’ reputation as the leading state for violence against trans people. 

“As the legislative process continues, and HB 25 moves to the Texas Senate, we will not stop fighting to protect transgender children. We’ll continue to educate lawmakers — replacing misinformation with real stories — and demand the statewide and federal nondiscrimination protections we need to prevent further harms. Transgender kids, adults, and their families are not political collateral. They deserve every fundamental right and opportunity that all other Texans have. Our lawmakers have a responsibility to do their job and enact policies that help all Texas families thrive, rather than perpetuating targeted oppression against young children and their families.” 

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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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EQUALITY TEXAS RELEASES STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF HB 25 BY THE HOUSE CALENDARS COMMITTEE

October 13, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Contact:

Debi Jackson | debi.jackson@equalitytexas.orgAngela Hale | angela.hale@equalitytexas.org

 

October 13, 2021 – AUSTIN, TEXAS – Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, today released a statement on the passage of HB 25 through the Calendars Committee to the full House of Representatives. Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas, released the following statement:

“The Texas Legislature’s unrelenting assault on transgender children continued today as the House Calendars Committee voted to move HB 25 to the full House without deliberation. The only word to describe this move is cruel. Despite unequivocal evidence of the harm filing, hearing, and debating anti-trans bills has caused trans kids and their families and overwhelming community opposition at each and every hearing, legislators choose to ignore the voices of the people. They are putting politics above people — above innocent children.

“The majority of Texans believe discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is wrong. Common sense policy doesn’t seek to harm Texans or ignore the negative implications of bills being proposed. Transgender children participating in sports is not a national emergency or a Texas emergency; these attacks on trans kids and the ongoing trauma to the trans community certainly are. This is unconscionable. We will continue to show up to the Capitol in opposition of these bills and will do everything we can to ensure they are defeated once and for all.”

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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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Special Session 3 Week 3 Wrap-up: Despite overwhelming opposition, HB 25 was voted out of committee

October 8, 2021 by Debi Jackson

This past Wednesday, October 6, the House Constitutional Rights and Remedies Committee passed HB 25, the most recent version of the anti-transgender sports ban, on a party line vote.

Nearly 300 Texans turned out to oppose HB 25 compared to barely 50 people who supported the bill (many from outside of Texas). These numbers reflect what we know: the majority of Texans believe discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is wrong.

The fight isn’t over yet. Send a message to the Calendars Committee urging them to stop the ongoing trauma of transgender youth by not moving HB 25.

Equality Texans gathered to protest HB 25 before the hearing on Wednesday.

Equality Texans gathered to protest HB 25 before the hearing on Wednesday.

Each of those nearly 300 Texans had a different perspective, and the hearing itself was a beautiful display of those many stories:

Courageous transgender children missed school once again to tell their bullies in the legislature why inclusion and acceptance is so important to them. Their parents opened up about how traumatic the past 10 months have been, constantly returning to the Capitol to beg for their humanity.

Cisgender youth reminded the committee that they don’t see their trans friends as a threat to their success or safety, but they do see the emotional toll of the constant legislative attacks.

Teachers, principals, and school board members reiterated that trans kids playing sports has never been a problem in their schools, unlike the escalated anti-LGBTQ+ bullying that’s creeping into their classrooms.

Transgender adults shared their own journeys with belonging, knowing who they are, and the vital importance of simple respect and affirmation.

Mental and behavioral health professionals presented heart-wrenching statistics about the mental health consequences of invalidating a child’s gender identity and quantitative evidence from crisis hotlines of how this debate has profoundly impacted kids.

Legal experts walked us through how anti-transgender sports bans violate the constitutional rights of transgender youth while exposing how supporters of the bill have grossly misrepresented any minuscule success by a transgender athlete as “domination.”

Faith leaders provided moral support, reminding us that transgender people are perfect just the way they are.

Businesses came out to testify that HB 25 is just one in a long line of anti-LGBTQ+ bills that create a hostile culture in Texas, repelling talented workers who value diversity and respect.

And Texas LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including Equality Texas, held lawmakers accountable for the dramatic rise in the last year of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, harassment, and even assaults across the state.

Trans, nonbinary, and intersex kids need us to be active allies.

Add your voice and tell the Calendars Committee not to move HB 25.

Despite the committee vote, our community and allies made the strongest case this year for the sheer unwarranted cruelty of the bill. This overwhelming opposition is an essential tool for slowing down the bill’s momentum and will help us tremendously in the days moving forward.

We wouldn’t have this tool if it were not for you. Whether you attended the protest, registered a position, sent a message to lawmakers, testified for the first time or the 9th — you made a real difference this week. Thank you. We see you and we know how hard this year has been and are in awe of your resilience and steadfast hope. We will continue to do everything we can to keep anti-transgender legislation from becoming law.

The bill still has several steps to go. The Calendars Committee will soon have to decide whether to set HB 25 for a floor date to debate the bill in the full House. There are only 12 days left in this special session. Let’s give them everything we’ve got.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EQUALITY TEXAS RELEASES STATEMENT ON HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF HB 25

October 7, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Contact: Debi Jackson | debi.jackson@equalitytexas.org

     Angela Hale | angela.hale@equalitytexas.org

 

October 7, 2021 – AUSTIN, TEXAS – Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, today released a statement on the House committee passage of HB 25. Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas, released the following statement:

“The Texas Legislature launched an unprecedented attack on the LGBTQ+ community during the regular legislative session which has continued now for three special sessions. This unrelenting attack on innocent children is cruel. Despite unequivocal evidence of the harm filing, hearing, and debating anti-trans bills has caused trans kids and their families and overwhelming community opposition, the bill was passed (8-4) out of the Constitutional Rights & Remedies Committee. 291 Texans registered their opposition to HB 25 while only 55 registered support. These numbers reflect what we know — the majority of Texans believe discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is wrong. Common sense policy doesn’t seek to harm Texans or ignore the negative implications of bills being proposed. Transgender children participating in sports is not a national emergency or a Texas emergency; these attacks on trans kids and the ongoing trauma to the trans community certainly are. This is unconscionable. We will continue to show up to the Capitol in opposition of these bills and will do everything we can to ensure they are defeated once and for all.”

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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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: RALLY IN OPPOSITION OF HB 25

October 6, 2021 by Debi Jackson

Contact: Debi Jackson | debi.jackson@equalitytexas.org

Angela Hale | angela.hale@equalitytexas.org, Emmett Schelling | info@transtexas.org 

 

The Human Rights Campaign, Equality Texas, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal and Texas Freedom Network will be hosting a rally on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol in opposition of HB 25 and to honor the nearly 4,000 transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas who have had to reach out to crisis call centers this year, with many directly stating that they are feeling stressed and considering suicide due to anti-trans laws being debated in Texas.

 

WHAT: Rally and Advocacy Day

WHEN: Wednesday, October 6, 2021 | 10:30AM 

WHERE: South Steps of the Texas Capitol

 

Austin, TexasOctober 6, 2021 – Equality Texas, Human Rights Campaign the Transgender Education Network of Texas, the ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal, and Texas Freedom Network will be hosting a rally on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol in opposition to HB 25 on October 6th at 10:30AM.

Debating bills like HB 25 puts trans and LGB youth at further risk. Crisis hotlines are already reporting dire mental health consequences of the debate about the dignity of transgender youth. The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ hotline, recently reported that calls from Texas youth are up 150% compared to 2020. The report also shares that “transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas directly stated that they are feeling stressed, using self-harm, and considering suicide due to anti-LGBTQ laws being debated in their state.” It is the collective goal of the aforementioned organizations to protect and affirm the innate humanity of all trans and LGB people, as such we will be rallying at the capitol to ensure our lawmakers prioritize the affirmation and protection of transgender Texans.  

Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas, said “Since the session began, we have learned of incident after incident where transgender kids and adults are attacked verbally, physically and sometimes fatally for simply being themselves. The relentless effort by lawmakers to dehumanize transgender people has contributed to creating unwelcoming spaces for trans Texans. Whether it’s school, work, or accessing public accommodations, transgender Texans do not deserve to worry about their safety and well-being. Ignoring the harm caused by these bills to prioritize hypothetical emergencies is nothing short of negligent leadership.”

Rebecca Marques (she/her), Texas State Director, Human Rights Campaign, said, “Holding yet another hearing demonstrates just how hard legislators are working to pass a discriminatory harmful bill that is opposed by thousands of Texans, educators, businesses, medical experts, and more. This time, the House is trying something new: while one version of the bill, SB 3, proceeds along the traditional route of jurisdiction through the House Public Education Committee, an identical version, HB 25, is taking a different path through this newly created Select Committee, and the Select Committee is moving fast. Despite deep exhaustion from speaking out against these repeated attempts to pass anti-trans legislation, supporters of LGTBQ+ equality have been tireless in their efforts to ask Texas legislators to stop targeting trans children.”

Emmett Schelling (he/him), Executive Director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, said “This is an emergency. The alarming uptick of mental health anguish trans people are in is a direct result of decisions lawmakers have made at the Capitol. We hope that the unequivocal evidence of the harm caused by these bills and the record 75+ anti-LGBTQ+ bills (50+ of them anti-trans) filed this year will help lawmakers do right by trans Texans, instead of attacking them.”

Val Benavidez (she/her), President and Executive Director, Texas Freedom Network, said: “Texans deserve better than leaders who bully kids as a way to distract from their catastrophic failures on critical issues, like a virus that has killed more than 66,000 Texans and a broken power grid they still haven’t fixed even after millions of us were left freezing in the dark last winter. But here they go again, spending precious time and resources to pass laws targeting transgender kids for discrimination. Transgender students participating in sports at school isn’t a threat to anyone. Failed leadership is.”

Adri Perez (they/them), Policy & Advocacy Strategist, ACLU of Texas, said: “For the seventh time this year, the Texas Legislature is attempting to pass an unnecessary and unconstitutional bill that will cause undeniable harm to children. Similar laws have already been declared unconstitutional in courts around the country yet Texas continues to place a cruel and relentless target on transgender kids and their families. Anyone who votes for this bill will be rejecting the recommendations of women’s sports experts and the will of the people — all for the senseless purpose of unlawfully discriminating against kids. No child should have to defend their right to be respected equally.”

Shelly Skeen (she/her), Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal, said: “Targeting transgender students by excluding them from athletic programs, as HB 25 intends, stigmatizes them, not just in athletics but in every aspect of their school lives. Transgender young people are no different from their peers — they want to play and be a part of a team, just like any other student. In addition to being a cruel policy that is a solution in search of a problem, it is sex discrimination in violation of federal law and puts the State of Texas, as well as its over 1000 school districts, at great risk of liability.” 

Excluding transgender children from normal school activities fuels a culture of bias that puts kids in danger: Transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming students are at greater risk of experiencing hostile climate and discrimination in school already. Failing to support transgender student athletes only perpetuates a culture of bias. Choosing not to protect transgender youth by ignoring the unequivocal evidence the impact anti-trans bill debates have on innocent children is cruel and irresponsible. 

 

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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.

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.

The Texas Freedom Network (tfn.org) is a grassroots organization of religious and community leaders and young Texans building an informed and effective movement for equality and social justice.

By inspiring and engaging individuals and communities, the Human Rights Campaign strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people plus community members who use different language to describe identity are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve 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 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.

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