Over the last year LGBTQ+ Texans have been under constant attack by our state’s top political leaders. These politicians have cultivated a climate that has endangered lives, they’ve aligned themselves with vigilante hate groups, white nationalists, and they have targeted our safe spaces, our celebrations, and our families.
This election was about sending a message that no matter who holds the reins of power in our state, LGBTQ+ Texans and our allies will never stop pushing for a better future. With every phone call made, every text message sent, every door knocked, and every vote cast, we delivered that message.
While we did not win every election or change the balance of power, there were victories that deserve to be celebrated.
With the election of Christian Manuel-Hayes and Venton Jones, and Jolanda Jones, the House LGBTQ+ Caucus will grow in size and influence. Because of their wins, we now have more openly LGBTQ+ members in the Texas House than at any other point in our state’s history. That’s worth celebrating.
And there’s more to celebrate:
The Equality Texas 501(c)(4) endorsed 88 candidates for state-level positions, most running for Texas House or Texas Senate. Seventy three percent of our endorsed candidates won their races outright, with 80% of our endorsed candidates successfully securing election to the Texas Legislature. During redistricting, the Republican controlled Legislature redrew lines to try to keep State Representative James Talarico from returning to the Texas House. Talarico, an unapologetic champion for LGBTQ+ equality, relocated to House District 50 and was elected to the new district overwhelmingly. We look forward to continuing to work with Representative Talarico.
In Collin County’s House District 70, Equality Texas-endorsed candidate Mihaela Plesa will be heading to Austin as the new State Representative of this recently redistricted seat. Plesa defeated an opponent who supports dangerous anti-trans sports bans, adding another voice in the Legislature that will defend LGBTQ+ Texans.
House District 92 was once represented by one of the most prolific anti-LGBTQ legislators in Texas. On Election night, this Tarrant County seat was won by Equality Texas-endorsed candidate Salman Bhojani who garnered 58% of the vote. Bhojani will join Dr. Suleman Lalani as the first Muslim State Representatives in Texas.
In July of this year, Congress voted on the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ which would have codified same-sex marriage into law. Representative Mayra Flores, who was the newly elected Congresswoman to Texas Congressional District 34, voted against marriage equality. Flores was handily defeated on Election night by Congressman Vicente Gonzalez who voted in support of codifying same-sex marriage into law.
We have all watched local school boards transform into battlefields against extremists who want to ban books, censor LGBTQ+ identities and unseat school board members who dare to disagree with their goal of imposing “conservative Christian” nationalism on every school district in Texas. Thankfully, that agenda did not appeal to voters in places like Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD or Manor ISD. When anti-LGBTQ+ organization, ‘Moms for Liberty’ put their candidates on the ballot, voters outright rejected them. Thankfully, we have seen the re-election of pro-education champions like Tiffanie Harrison in Round Rock ISD and Arati Singh in Austin ISD.
In a state as big as Texas, elections have an outsized impact. For help breaking down the results, join us next Wednesday at 7pm for a deeper dive into what the results mean for LGBTQ+ Texans.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered their time and to everyone who showed up to the polls, our power is growing, and you are the proof of that.