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Posted on October 6, 2021 at 7:45 am

Contact: Debi Jackson |

Angela Hale |, Emmett Schelling | 


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. 



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 ( 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.