It’s with a heavy heart that we close this year, having witnessed the significant effects of the COVID-19 crisis across Texas, disproportionately impacting those in the LGBTQ+ community. The lingering effects of the pandemic will continue to be felt in 2021 but hope is not lost. Just this month we’ve seen a glimpse of what positive change may be in store for the new year with the news of vaccine distribution!
Although we are encouraged by the vaccine rollout and the relief it will hopefully provide our communities, we remain wary of the epidemic of hate we will continue to fight during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. Equality Texas has begun tracking proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and has already seen bills filed that criminalize affirming healthcare for transgender youth, allow licensed professionals to sue local nondiscrimination ordinances, and lawyers to turn away clients due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs”. For over 30 years, Equality Texas has been in communities across the state and at the Texas Capitol, fighting against discrimination like this.
As Equality Texans, you support the critical engagement, education, mobilization, leadership programs Equality Texas has developed to build a statewide movement to protect the rights afforded to LGBTQ+ people today and advocate for change.
During this next Legislative Session, Equality Texas aims to pass a comprehensive, statewide nondiscrimination bill through the House of Representatives for the first time in Texas history. This bipartisan effort is an important moment in Texas history, as we move from defense to offense to protect the rights of our community, and would create significant economic opportunity in Texas, as shown by this economic impact study commissioned by Texas Competes, Equality Texas’ business coalition program.
We continue to build nonpartisan support for equality and respond aggressively to the expected attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. We have worked for three decades in a challenging, often-hostile political climate, and because of you — Equality Texans — we have achieved victories in the face of strong opposition. Thank you for being a part of Equality Texas’ legacy.
From all of us at Equality Texas, we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe New Year.