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Press Release: Equality Texas Releases Groundbreaking Report on the State of Equality in Texas and Urges Support of Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ Texans
Posted on February 27, 2019 at 8:00 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               

Angela Hale, Equality Texas, 512.289.2995 angela@redmediagroup.com

Equality Texas Releases Groundbreaking Report on the State of Equality in Texas and Urges Support of Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ Texans

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Austin, Texas – February 27, 2019- Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ Texans, today released a groundbreaking new report on the State of Equality in Texas and called on legislators to pass comprehensive non-discrimination protections for all Texans.

“Texas is diminished when it sanctions the denial of housing or employment for LGBTQ Texans or fights to keep unconstitutional and unenforceable laws on the books. I will continue filing bills to ensure that all Texans are afforded their constitutional rights. Simply put, gay and trans Texans have the same values as anyone: to be secure in their livelihoods and to live a life of purpose, free from public discrimination,” said Senator Jose Rodriguez, El Paso, author of comprehensive non-discrimination Senate Bill 151. 

“It’s shocking to realize that in 2019 our state laws prohibiting unfair discrimination still don’t include LGBTQ Texans. The time is now to protect all Texans equally. Updating our laws to help end unfair discrimination is long overdue,” said Rep. Mary Gonzalez, El Paso, Chair of the LGBTQ Caucus.

Data released by national polling organization Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows 64% support for laws to protect gay, lesbian and transgender Texans from discrimination. A majority of every major demographic group, including white evangelicals, supports nondiscrimination laws.

“Discrimination still shapes the daily lives of many LGBTQ Texans.  And it’s no wonder, because in Texas you can still be fired, denied an apartment, or refused service, just because of who you are, or who you love,” said Samantha Smoot, Interim Executive Director of Equality Texas.

“I stand here today urging our elected officials to remember to love their neighbor, to protect the vulnerable among us, to see that we are all created in God’s image, that we are all one. Religious freedom is one of the founding values of our nation but is not a license to discriminate,” said Griff Martin, Senior Pastor at First Austin, A Baptist Community of Faith. 

Texas is one of 28 states where there are no explicit statewide laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“Mirroring broader patterns of poverty in the United States, LGBTQ people of color—particularly transgender and gender nonconforming people of color—experience the highest rates of poverty, discrimination, and violence. It is time to end discrimination and protect everyone in our state, “said Monica Roberts, Transgender Woman and TransGriot Founding Editor, Houston.

“As the CEO of Visit Dallas, one of the top travel destinations in the world, we can attest that our regional economy has benefited immensely from inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano,” said Phillip Jones, CEO of Visit Dallas. “Diversity and inclusion are an economic imperative for the 21st century and it is time to protect all Texans from discrimination.”

The new report released by Equality Texas shows despite the progress we’ve made, discrimination still shapes the lives of many LGBTQ people and their families. A recent study found that a quarter of LGBTQ adults experienced some form of discrimination in the last year. And even those who had not experienced discrimination reported that the risk of discrimination affected major life decisions like where to live or whether to apply for a new job.

“As the mother of twins, it is my deep desire to see my gay son live in a world where he is treated with the same dignity and equality as his straight brother,” says Felicia Dodd, a mother of twin boys from Austin.

Equality Texas supports comprehensive non-discrimination bills that have been filed by Senator Rodriguez (SB 151), Rep. Farrar (HB 244) and Rep. Bernal (HB 254).

Link to the State of Equality report here.

Link to the PRRI public opinion research here.

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Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration. The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.