Equality Texas Fighting on the Front Lines Against LGBT Discrimination with Dallas Leaders, Hate Crime Victims and DPD to Protect Texans During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Dallas, Texas – Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBT Texans, today kicked off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Dallas with the Dallas Police Department, City Council Member Adam Medrano, Dallas District Attorney’s Office, Dallas Sheriff’s Office and recent victims of hate crimes to launch a new campaign in Texas to fight LGBT discrimination and bring attention to the series of hate crimes targeting gay Texans in Dallas.
“The vitriol, sexism, racism, anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric in Texas and in America is fueling an atmosphere of hate in Texas and across the country that is causing innocent Texans to be beaten and almost killed,” said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas. “This rhetoric is unacceptable and has real consequences for real Texans who are victims of hate crimes.”
At least 20 Texans have been attacked in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas. Today, the Dallas Police Department is renewing their request for the public to reach out and report any information that would lead to the arrest of the people who are attacking our friends and neighbors in the Oak Lawn area. Michael Dominguez was attacked after leaving a bar on Cedar Springs last October. He was beaten and stabbed and woke up following surgery in the Parkland Emergency Room.
“I’m somebody’s son, I’m somebody’s brother, I’m somebody’s cousin, somebody’s nephew, and grandchild. Everybody has somebody and just imagine if you got a phone call saying that they’re dead. They were left to bleed out on the street,” said Michael Dominguez, who is a Dallas hate crime survivor.
“The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office will not tolerate acts of violence against any member of our community, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender expression. It is imperative that we not only appreciate one another’s differences, but make it a priority to protect any group whose differences make them a target for violence. Our LGBT Task Force was created and exists to educate and bring awareness as to the sensitivity of how criminal cases involving the LGBT community are handled. Our office is extremely proud to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters, as well as our partners in law enforcement, to make Dallas County safer for us all,” said Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk.
With the leadership of City Council Member Adam Medrano and Dallas Police, the city has stepped up patrols in the area, installed cameras, encouraged businesses to place cameras on their property, improved lighting and citizens have also joined in on patrols. But so far, no arrests have been made.
“The Dallas City Council has spent $1.2 million for safety improvements in the area but urges everyone to be aware of their surroundings when going out to restaurants and bars. Pay attention, don’t text, don’t walk alone, avoid dark streets and call the police immediately if you see something. The police need our help to catch those who are preying on our community,” said Dallas City Councilman, Adam Medrano, District 2.
A new report confirms that the vast majority of Texans do not support discrimination of any kind against the LGBT community. The Public Religion Research Institute shows there is widespread support for laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.
In Texas, 67% of Texans favor a law protecting LGBT people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. And 53% oppose letting a small business owner refuse to serve someone who is LGBT based on their personal religious beliefs. But in Texas, it is completely legal to terminate an employee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Overwhelmingly, Texans believe that everyone throughout the state should be able to live without fear of discrimination or fear of being a victim of crime.
“The Dallas Police Department is proud to partner with Equality Texas for this kickoff to National Crime Victims’ Week. We support their efforts to bring attention to LGBT victims of crime, “said Assistant Chief Randy Blankenbaker, Dallas Police Department.
Link to the American Values Atlas study on public opinion about LGBT nondiscrimination laws and religious exemptions: http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/AVA-LGBT-Report-FINAL.pdf
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a time to bring attention to crime victims across Texas and the country to raise awareness. The new Equality Texas campaign released its first video today about hate crime victims in Dallas. Victims who turned hate into love by forming a non-profit, Survivors Offering Support (SOS), to help other victims of violent crime. This is the first in a series of stories Equality Texas will be telling about the lives of LGBT Texans and our allies. The campaign theme is simple. Discrimination is not a Texas Value. Embrace Dignity and Respect for Every Texan. We urge all Texans to join our campaign and speak out against discrimination.
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vTfNadCQ80
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization dedicated to securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration. The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.