We are posting this legislative update a few days late so that we could practice self-care this weekend. Sharing our personal stories in a public forum, surrounded by opposition, all during a global pandemic puts folks on the front-lines of advocacy in a vulnerable place. We understand that our cups need to be full so that we can continue to be of service to our mission of full-lived equality for all LGBTQ+ Texans. We wholeheartedly thank everyone who showed up in-person and those who submitted written testimony to help us defend our rights.
Friday was the first all-hands-on-deck hearing at the Capitol. SB 29 would effectively ban transgender students from ever participating in sports consistent with who they are. The bill is ambiguous and leaves it up to the University Scholastic League (UIL) and Texas school districts to determine a student’s “biological sex,” which could result in massive liability for school districts as they try to implement or enforce this vague and harmful law, potentially intruding upon the privacy rights of all students and disproportionately harming young women and girls.
Equality Texas staff, board members, community partners like Transgender Education Network of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Human Rights Campaign, ACLU of Texas and Lambda Legal helped mobilize nearly 50 Equality Texans to deliver in-person testimony. We were also able to submit over 140 written testimonies in opposition to Dan Patrick’s latest pet project attacking LGBTQ+ Texans, SB 29. See some of the testimony online. Unfortunately, after hours of testimony provided by trans kids, their parents, other athletes, coaches, and allies, Senate State Affairs voted to pass the bill out of committee close to midnight.
Eleven weeks into lege session, one thing is clear: we need to prepare for the unexpected and continue to show up in-person whenever possible. As we saw this week, a hearing can be scheduled surprisingly and with little notice. Our community needs to mobilize on a moment’s notice to have our voices heard, especially against the greatest threats to LGBTQ+ equality: anti-trans bills.
Because of your support, in less than 48 hours Equality Texas was able to mobilize witnesses, identify the appropriate messengers, and train new testifiers to defend the rights of transgender kids.
Bill Movement and Important Developments
Thank you for fighting against this insidious legislation, and if you can support this work financially, please make a donation today.