The ACLU of Texas is dedicated to securing constitutional and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Texans.
The ACLU of Texas defends the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Texas, in courtrooms, at the state legislature, and in large and small communities throughout the Lone Star State.
In Public Schools
Every child in Texas deserves a safe, supportive learning environment. LGBTQ youth are often unable to find help when they are targeted for bullying and discrimination at school. When kids do assert their rights, they may face resistance, or worse, from teachers and administrators.
In Housing and the Workplace
LGBTQ Texans lack the most basic protections against discrimination because of their sexual orientation. Neither federal nor state law bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and as a result, an LGBTQ Texan has no recourse if an employer, landlord, or shopkeeper discriminates. Without protection, countless Texans are forced to live in the closet for fear of the consequences of living openly.
For Transgender Texans
Transgender Texans not only face the same discrimination as gays and lesbians, but they must also overcome challenges unique to them. Transgender Americans are at a substantially higher risk for unemployment, poverty, workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, health care discrimination, bullying, suicide, assault, and murder. Many basic transactions of everyday life—from using a public restroom to writing a check at the grocery store to boarding an airplane—can be occasions for discrimination and harassment.
For Texas Families
In Texas, children raised by same-sex couples continue to face hurdles related to their legal status, particularly in situations involving custody and probate disputes. LGBTQ parents and their children are entitled to the same treatment and legal protections afforded other families.
For Same-Sex Partners
LGBTQ people, like everyone else, should have the freedom to build the kinds of personal, intimate relationships most meaningful to them without risking that their families will be disregarded or harmed by the state. Marriage equality certainly changed the landscape for LGBTQ couples, but discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations is still legal in most of the state of Texas.
Texas After Marriage Equality
While the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage represented a landmark victory for LGBTQ rights throughout the nation, there remains a great deal to do. To be sure, the right to wed undoes a great many of the injustices historically suffered by the LGBTQ community, but in much of the country—and most of the state of Texas—it remains perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing, in the workplace, and in public accommodations. In other words, an LGBTQ couple can legally wed on a Sunday, and be just as legally fired for displaying wedding photos on their desks at work on Monday.
While we at the ACLU of Texas believe this state of affairs is grossly unjust, lawmakers at both the state and federal levels have given no indication they will stop their assault on LGBT equality protections. The non-discrimination ordinances that have benefitted our big cities for years will continue to require a staunch defense, and through public education, lawsuits and advocacy campaigns, we will continue to work to extend their protections to all Texans.