Preventing Violence
Preventing Violence

Even as we experience increased transgender visibility through a range of inspiring national media stories, the levels of violence and harassment transgender people face – particularly transgender women and transgender women of color – constitute a national crisis.

  • At the federal level, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act covers crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. When President Obama signed it into law in 2009, it was the first federal law to explicitly protect LGBT people.
  • 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.
  • Safety and privacy in restrooms is important for all of us. That’s why we already have laws in place that make it illegal to harm or harass people, or invade their privacy. Anyone who does that can and should be arrested and prosecuted. Police use these laws to prevent assault, keep people safe, and hold offenders accountable. Transgender people are part of our workplaces and our neighborhoods, and they need to be able to use the restroom just like everyone else. We can protect people from discrimination and continue to hold offenders accountable. That way everyone can have a fair opportunity to earn a living, be safe, meet their responsibilities, and build a better life.
  • Transgender persons face incredible levels of scrutiny from their federal and local governments, their employers and other institutions, especially if their legal documentation still reflects their former gender. Texas law allows people assigned a gender at birth that does not reflect their true gender to legally change their recognized gender. However, the process for doing so is not clearly laid out in statute. This has resulted in a patchwork of different processes and precedents across the state. In order to ensure that all Texans can be assured fair treatment by the courts, Texas should provide a standard process for modification or reissuance of identity documents.
  • According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color make up the majority (50.2%) of intimate partner violence survivors. Additionally, their 2013 report found that LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color were more likely to report experiencing physical violence, discrimination, threats or intimidation, and harassment as a result of intimate partner violence. LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color were also more likely to experience intimate partner violence incidents in public spaces. Equality Texas supports early intervention and prevention programs to prevent and reduce intimate partner violence in LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities.

Equality Texas is committed to preventing and reducing violence directed at, or within, the LGBT community.


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Supported Legislation
HB 1849
Introduced: 2/14/17
Authors: Coleman | Reynolds
Status: 3/15/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing for the addition of gender identity or expression to the list of attributes included in the “James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act”. Read Text of Bill
Opposed Legislation
SB 91
Introduced: 7/19/2017
Authors: Kolkhorst
Status: 7/21/2017: Left pending in committee - Senate State Affairs Committee
"Bathroom bill" - prohibiting transgender Texans from using restroom and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity. Read Text of Bill
SB 3
Introduced: 7/19/2017
Authors: Kolkhorst
Status: 7/27/2017: House received from the Senate
"Bathroom bill" - prohibiting transgender Texans from using restroom and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity. Read Text of Bill
SB 23
Introduced: 7/10/2017
Authors: Hall
Status: Filed
Prohibiting any local authority from providing nondiscrimination protections not otherwise provided in state law; repealing any existing local protections that are broader than state law. Read Text of Bill
HB 50
Introduced: 7/10/2017
Authors: Simmons
Status: 7/20/2017: Referred to House State Affairs Committee
"Bathroom bill" vehicle: Statewide preemption bill prohibiting any school district board of trustees from protecting a class of persons from discrimination with regard to accessing multiple-occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities. Take Action Read Text of Bill
HB 46
Introduced: 7/10/2017
Authors: Simmons
Status: 7/20/2017: Referred to House State Affairs Committee
"Bathroom bill" vehicle: Statewide preemption bill prohibiting any political subdivision of the state from protecting a class of persons from discrimination with regard to accessing multiple-occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities. Take Action Read Text of Bill
SB 2095
Introduced: 3/10/2017
Authors: Hall
Status: 5/18/17: Left pending in committee - House Public Education
Relating to regulation of steroid use by students participating in athletic competitions sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League. Read Text of Bill
HB 4097
Introduced: 3/10/17
Authors: Cain
Status: 4/3/17 Referred to State Affairs
Prohibiting any local authority from providing nondiscrimination protections not otherwise provided in state law; repealing any existing local protections that are broader than state law. Companion: SB 92 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 2899
Introduced: 3/6/17
Authors: Simmons
Status: 4/19/17: Left pending in committee - House State Affairs
Committee Substitute: House version of bathroom bill. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 2096
Introduced: 3/10/17
Authors: Hall
Status: 3/28/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing the providers of psychological & counseling services the right to refuse service to clients if doing so conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: HB 3856 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 1536
Introduced: 3/8/17
Authors: Campbell
Status: 3/21/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing the providers of child welfare services the right to refuse service to clients if doing so conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 3859
Introduced: 3/10/17
Authors: Frank
Status: 5/22/17: Passed by the Senate
Providing the providers of child welfare services the ability to discriminate and refuse service to clients if doing so conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 3856
Introduced: 3/10/17
Authors: Rinaldi
Status: 3/30/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing the providers of psychological & counseling services the right to refuse service to clients if doing so conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: SB 2096 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 3571
Introduced: 3/9/17
Authors: Oliverson
Status: 3/30/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing a religious exemption from any civil action claiming discrimination, or violation of a municipal ordinance for discrimination, based on any characteristic other than race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 2878
Introduced: 3/3/17
Authors: Sanford
Status: 3/29/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing health care professionals the right to refuse to treat patients if doing so conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 2876
Introduced: 3/5/17
Authors: Sanford
Status: 3/29/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing wedding industry professionals and employees the right to refuse service to clients if doing so conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 2795
Introduced: 3/3/17
Authors: Lang
Status: 3/30/17 Referred to County Affairs
Providing county clerks and deputy county clerks the ability to decline to provide a marriage license if doing so conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 2779
Introduced: 3/2/17
Authors: Schaefer
Status: 3/27/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing broad-based ability to decline to provide services to anyone if providing the service conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. Applies to adoption & foster care, employment, housing, marriage-related licensing, ceremonies, and services; sex reassignment, psychological, counseling & fertility services; sex-based dress, grooming, & bathroom access; licensing & accreditation. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 893
Introduced: 2/14/17
Authors: Hughes
Status: 2/28/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing individuals and businesses the ability to decline to provide services to anyone if providing the service conflicts with the individual’s or businesses sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: HB 1923 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 892
Introduced: 2/14/17
Authors: Perry
Status: 4/19/17 Left pending in committee - Senate Health & Human Services
Providing child welfare service providers the ability to decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services if it conflicts with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: HB 3859 Take Action Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 651
Introduced: 1/27/17
Authors: Perry | Birdwell | Hughes
Status: 2/14/17 Referred to Business & Commerce
Redefines and expands the definition of religious expression, and limits the enforcement of rules, regulations, and policies of state agencies that regulate business, occupation or professional licensing. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 522
Introduced: 1/19/17
Authors: Birdwell
Status: 5/20/17: Committee report sent to Calendars
Allowing county clerks to pass off issuing marriage licenses to other certifying officials if issuing that marriage license conflicts with the clerk’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: HB 1813 Take Action Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 92
Introduced: 11/14/16
Authors: Hall
Status: 1/24/17 Referred to Business & Commerce
Prohibiting any local authority from providing nondiscrimination protections not otherwise provided in state law; repealing any existing local protections that are broader than state law. Companion: HB 4097 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
SB 89
Introduced: 11/14/16
Authors: Hall
Status: 1/24/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing for the state of Texas to refuse to enforce any federal law deemed to violate the Texas Constitution. Read Text of Bill
SB 6
Introduced: 1/5/17
Authors: Kolkhorst
Status: 3/16/17 House received from the Senate
Prohibiting transgender Texans from using restroom and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 1923
Introduced: 2/15/17
Authors: Krause
Status: 3/13/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing individuals and businesses the ability to decline to provide services to anyone if providing the service conflicts with the individual’s or businesses sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: SB 893 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 1813
Introduced: 2/13/17
Authors: Flynn
Status: 05/03/2017: Left pending in committee - House State Affairs
Allowing county clerks to pass off issuing marriage licenses to other certifying officials if issuing that marriage license conflicts with the clerk’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: SB 522 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 1805
Introduced: 2/13/17
Authors: Sanford
Status: 3/22/17 Referred to State Affairs
Providing child welfare service providers the ability to decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services if it conflicts with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Companion: SB 892 Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 1362
Introduced: 1/30/17
Authors: Shaheen
Status: 2/27/17 Referred to State Affairs
Prohibiting public schools from implementing policies that would allow transgender Texans to use restroom and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief
HB 428
Introduced: 11/21/16
Authors: King, Phil | Phillips | Sanford | Murphy
Status: 2/21/17 Referred to Higher Education
Providing religious student organizations an exemption from nondiscrimination policies of public institutions of higher education if such policies do not conform to the student organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Read Text of Bill Read Issue Brief