Today, the 2021 Texas Legislative Session officially began. When the legislature convenes every two years, we go into work overdrive. But the work of Equality Texas never really ends…or even slows down. Last year was an oddity for so many reasons, but we still had attacks on the LGBTQ community and still fought back. Here are some of our top victories…
- We were victorious in ensuring that existing protections for LGBTQ+ folks and people with disabilities were not removed from the Social Workers Code of Conduct.
- Worked with local advocates to support a Clyde High School’s student who received in-school suspension for wearing nail polish to school. And that win is already extending into 2021, with the student reporting to us that in a school assembly, the principal announced that the policy will be gender neutral this semester, with no specific grooming requirements and that boys can wear nail polish and/or makeup!
- Supported our coalition partner, Texas Freedom Network, in trying to make sex education inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Mobilized local community in Wimberley in support of Board of Trustee Lori Olson who was vilified for supporting LGBTQ+ students by wearing a modified school logo with rainbow colors to commemorate the first-ever Wimberley Pride.
- 23 Fellows from 15 cities across the state completed our inaugural leadership development program Equality Fellows.
- We planned and led 30 trainings on LGBTQ+ issues and advocacy skills which were attended by over 700 people.
- Worked with a coalition of organizations across Texas on COVID-19 and You: a survey, which was initiated on May 4th and sought to understand the concerns and challenges faced by LGBTQ Texans during the pandemic.
- Submitted Public Comment condemning the Housing and Urban Development’s Proposed Rule Change Excluding Trans People from Homeless Shelters.
- Equality Texas continued to work on a patient-centered outcomes research collaborative through TransFORWARD: Texas Transgender Health, a unique collaboration with Texas Health Institute. In 2020, we held TransFORWARD’s Capstone Collaborative Summit which brought together forty project leaders to review the key themes that emerged from over two hundred participants in eight regional summits during 2019.
- We launched the Queer Texas Crisis Fund, a joint project by Texas Pride Impact Funds and Equality Texas. The fund raised $50,000 which was distributed to 16 LGBTQ+ direct service orgs who provided emergency relief to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Hosted our second annual Gala: All Eyes on Texas, virtually! While we missed celebrating in person, attendees raved that the event was “the best virtual event all quarantine” and helped us raise $200,000 to continue our important work.
- Worked as a 2020 Census Partner to help recruit more marginalized community participants in the census, to ensure that traditionally underrepresented populations were counted and could receive critical federal funding in their communities.
Pivoting to 100% online work and still seeing so many successful initiatives was possible because of having such dedicated, engaged, and resolute members — you, Equality Texans.
We look forward to even more wins in 2021!