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Hate Crimes

HB 2059- Coleman

In 2001, the Texas Legislature passed the “James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act,” The act allows trial courts to impose stiffer penalties for crimes committed due to bias against the victims’ real or perceived “race, religion, color, sex, disability, sexual preference, age, or national origin.” There are no similar protections available for victims of crimes caused because of bias against the victim’s gender identity or expression. Gender identity or expression should be added to the current list of attributes because, like the currently listed attributes, it is a universal trait that has historically been the basis for widespread and systemic discrimination and violence in our culture.