This past Wednesday, October 6, the House Constitutional Rights and Remedies Committee passed HB 25, the most recent version of the anti-transgender sports ban, on a party line vote.
Nearly 300 Texans turned out to oppose HB 25 compared to barely 50 people who supported the bill (many from outside of Texas). These numbers reflect what we know: the majority of Texans believe discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is wrong.
Each of those nearly 300 Texans had a different perspective, and the hearing itself was a beautiful display of those many stories:
Courageous transgender children missed school once again to tell their bullies in the legislature why inclusion and acceptance is so important to them. Their parents opened up about how traumatic the past 10 months have been, constantly returning to the Capitol to beg for their humanity.
Cisgender youth reminded the committee that they don’t see their trans friends as a threat to their success or safety, but they do see the emotional toll of the constant legislative attacks.
Teachers, principals, and school board members reiterated that trans kids playing sports has never been a problem in their schools, unlike the escalated anti-LGBTQ+ bullying that’s creeping into their classrooms.
Transgender adults shared their own journeys with belonging, knowing who they are, and the vital importance of simple respect and affirmation.
Mental and behavioral health professionals presented heart-wrenching statistics about the mental health consequences of invalidating a child’s gender identity and quantitative evidence from crisis hotlines of how this debate has profoundly impacted kids.
Legal experts walked us through how anti-transgender sports bans violate the constitutional rights of transgender youth while exposing how supporters of the bill have grossly misrepresented any minuscule success by a transgender athlete as “domination.”
Faith leaders provided moral support, reminding us that transgender people are perfect just the way they are.
Businesses came out to testify that HB 25 is just one in a long line of anti-LGBTQ+ bills that create a hostile culture in Texas, repelling talented workers who value diversity and respect.
And Texas LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including Equality Texas, held lawmakers accountable for the dramatic rise in the last year of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, harassment, and even assaults across the state.
Trans, nonbinary, and intersex kids need us to be active allies.
Despite the committee vote, our community and allies made the strongest case this year for the sheer unwarranted cruelty of the bill. This overwhelming opposition is an essential tool for slowing down the bill’s momentum and will help us tremendously in the days moving forward.
We wouldn’t have this tool if it were not for you. Whether you attended the protest, registered a position, sent a message to lawmakers, testified for the first time or the 9th — you made a real difference this week. Thank you. We see you and we know how hard this year has been and are in awe of your resilience and steadfast hope. We will continue to do everything we can to keep anti-transgender legislation from becoming law.
The bill still has several steps to go. The Calendars Committee will soon have to decide whether to set HB 25 for a floor date to debate the bill in the full House. There are only 12 days left in this special session. Let’s give them everything we’ve got.