Although both the House and Senate were adjourned this week, an empty Capitol didn’t stop anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers from inciting fear and spreading misinformation about the LGBTQ+ community.
In case you missed it, this week the Freedom Caucus held a press conference detailing their priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session. One of their top priorities is to attack our most vulnerable children, transgender youth.
The Freedom Caucus, a small fringe minority of right-wing House members, focuses on extreme partisan issues at the expense of solving the real problems facing most Texans like economic recovery, pandemic response, and education reform. Members of the Freedom Caucus have authored more than half of the anti-LGBTQ+ bills Equality Texas is tracking thus far.
Speaking of those bills, we’re now tracking a total of nine anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed this Session. These bills sit squarely in three main categories: bills attacking transgender youth such as SB 373 (Perry), HB 1458 (Swanson), HB 1399 (Krause), and HB 68 (Toth), bills promoting religious exemptions such as HB 1424 (Oliverson) and SB 247 (Perry), and bills seeking to roll back nondiscrimination protections at the local level HB 610 (Swanson). Look out for the bill tracker which will soon be live on our website for more detail on each of these bills.
At a glance, a world under these bills could look like doctors facing down criminal convictions for providing best-practice transition-related care, kids being singled out to undergo invasive exams just to play soccer with their friends, EMTs who feel empowered to deny life-saving procedures, and hairdressers with the power to take down local nondiscrimination ordinances.
That’s a scary picture. But we’ve faced down challenges like this before, and we know that together, we can beat back these harmful bills and create a world that supports and affirms us no matter who we are or who we love.
We need the storytellers and the phone-bankers, the OpEd writers and the (virtual) ralliers. We need you. Learn how you can get involved by registering for our upcoming town hall on February 10, and in the meantime, follow along with our emails, blog, and action alerts.
During that Freedom Caucus press conference last Wednesday, anti-LGBTQ+ legislator Matt Krause grossly mischaracterized life-saving and important care as an experiment. “We do not allow those under 18 years old to be experimented on,” said Krause, who has authored or co-authored 20 anti-LGBTQ bills during his four terms.
We need to set the record straight. Our friends, coworkers, and neighbors are with us — 70% of Texans support protections for the LGBTQ+ community. Legislators come back to the capitol on February 9th. Let’s make sure they know exactly who we are and what we’re fighting for.