It is not a matter of “if” but when we will have a hearing on the anti-trans bills that have defined this session. 2021 is a record year for anti-transgender legislation across the country. Bills targeting transgender youth are flying through other state legislatures and we must do everything in our power right now to prepare to defend and protect the lives and humanity of LGBTQ+ people in Texas — especially transgender Texans who are at the center of these vicious and coordinated attacks. First up, we are likely to be fighting bills that seek to ban trans girls from participating in girls sports.
Imagine having to tell a child that they cannot safely participate in team sports because a law has been passed that deems them too different to do so or puts them at risk of being subjected to invasive physical exams. They might say…
“But why can’t I play?”
What would you answer? Would you say that the state of Texas doesn’t want them to fit in? That it doesn’t want them to belong? That they are too different to do what their friends do? Participating in sports is a right of passage in Texas. Friday night lights, cookouts, legacy sports families, and memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Sports participation provides life lessons and promotes shared values that all children should be able to experience: physical health and stress relief, sportsmanship, team-building and camaraderie, goal-setting and self-discipline, leadership, confidence, and belonging. The vast majority of children, including transgender children, are not elite athletes. They just want to play sports for fun, with friends and classmates. They should not be forced to choose between being themselves and playing sports. You can help us ensure kids are not forced to make that choice.
Everyone has a story, an expertise, a personal connection to bills that affect our community. No voice is too small or too removed. We need you.
“It’s hard to hate up close,” said Representative Israel, on the All in for Equality Coalition’s State of LGBTQ+ Equality conversation last Monday with the House LGBTQ+ Caucus. Share your story. Make them see you. Together we can hold the line and protect transgender kids in Texas.
Last week our community showed up to testify for the first two pro-LGBTQ+ bills of the session, HB 73 (Hinojosa, D-Austin), which would eliminate the gay/trans panic defense, and HB 1402 (A. Johnson, D-Houston), which would make sure that transgender Texans are covered by the James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act.
Those two hearings showcased the strength of our community and what happens when you make your voice heard. People shared their lived experiences with attacks motivated by hate, their fears, their love for the state of Texas (even when it doesn’t love us back), and their hopes for their loved ones. Others used their knowledge to give legal analysis of the bills, and dismantle the empty arguments against this important legislation.
And the legislators heard. Multiple members of the committee pointed out the need to keep the LGBTQ+ community safe, asked genuine questions, and sincerely thanked the witnesses who were able to make it out.
The anti-transgender youth bills, particularly the bans on sports participation, could be heard as early as next Monday, March 29. Senate State Affairs, where SB 29 (Perry, R-Lubbock) and SB 373 (Perry, R-Lubbock) have been referred, meets every Monday morning and we generally only have around 48 hours notice of what bills are on deck. This Monday, we weren’t on the agenda; next Monday we might be. Every week there’s a chance that we’ll have to mobilize our community in record time.
Anti-Trans Sports Bans: SB 29, SB 373, SB 1458, HB 3455, HB 4042, HB 4043
Anti-Trans Medical Care Bans: HB 68, HB 1399, HB 2693, SB 1646, SB 1311, HB 4014
See ALL OTHER BILLS on our Legislative Tracker.