Our community came out in force this week to fight against discrimination. The House Public Education Committee held the hearing for SB 2, the most recent version of the anti-transgender sports ban, last Tuesday, August 24. The hearing lasted all night, starting around 9:30 PM and finally wrapping up close to 6:00 AM.
This is the fifth time a committee has heard this issue in the last six months. The fifth time that transgender kids, parents, community leaders and allies have packed a hearing room to tell lawmakers in no uncertain terms the effect these bills would have on their kids. And the fifth time that kids have missed school, adults have missed work, and all of us lost sleep fighting against these discriminatory bills.
Every time legislators debate whether transgender kids deserve access to the same activities as their peers, they are really debating their humanity. There’s a reason our opposition refuses to use the word “transgender” when talking about trans kids and instead insists on using terms like “biological male.” They’re not fighting about sports, they’re fighting to erase transgender kids entirely. That debate causes incredible harm.
While the debate was brutal, we also created moments of joyful community. Tuesday was also Marsha P. Johnson’s birthday, and we celebrated her life, advocacy, and spirit while we waited for the hearing to begin. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and it was both comforting and humbling to remember that it’s only because of Marsha and her generation’s advocacy that we’re able to fight against legislation that would isolate transgender youth from their peers.
All those who fought with us that night, whether by submitting written testimony, registering a position for the public record, or testifying at 4:00 AM, carry on that legacy to ensure that our whole LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender Texans, achieve equality in the eyes of the law and in the hearts of our fellow Texans.
After the marathon hearing, the bill was not called for a vote in the committee. Special session rules allow committees to meet with only 30 minutes notice to vote on legislation, and there are still ten days left of this second special session. We’ll keep a close eye on any movement and keep the pressure on elected officials who are charged with keeping our kids safe.
In the meantime, email the Public Education committee, get some rest, and know that together, we are a true force to be reckoned with.