AUSTIN, Texas — June 1 marks the start of Pride Month for the state’s LGBTQIA+ community, which begins just days after the 88th Texas Legislature adjourned its regular session sine die on Monday.
Our community experienced a record number of legislative attacks during the recent law-making session. Hundreds of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills were filed by legislators. Coalitions like All In For Equality, partner organizations, and everyday Texans from all races, experiences, and backgrounds showed up at the Capitol throughout the session to push back against harmful bills and ultimately prevented more than 130 of them from passing.
However, several comprehensive bills targeting LGBTQIA+ people, especially trans Texans, are set to become law. Those bills include:
- S.B. 14 bans the only evidence-based care for gender dysphoria for transgender people under 18 and aims to strip doctors of their medical licenses for providing their patients with the care they know to be medically necessary.
- S.B. 15 bans transgender athletes from participating in sports in Texas public colleges and universities according to their gender identity.
- S.B. 12 criminalizes certain performers and businesses that put on performances vaguely described as “sexually explicit” in front of minors. It was created with the purpose of targeting drag shows and bans commonly used elements in drag performance.
- H.B. 900 bans or restricts access to public school library books vaguely described as “sexually explicit” or “educationally unsuitable.” This new set of standards could result in the removal of books about LGBTQIA+ issues, race, and racism.
Members of the All In for Equality coalition pledge to continue to advocate for Texans threatened by these bills. During this Pride Month, we will celebrate our resilience and solidarity at events throughout the state.
The following quote can be attributed to Ash Hall (they/them), Policy & Advocacy Strategist at the ACLU of Texas:
“Governor Abbott and his political allies rammed through an unconstitutional slate of anti-LGBTQIA+ hate that will make our state less safe, less free, and less fair. Texans of all backgrounds traveled from across the state to oppose these vicious attacks on our civil rights and individual liberties. Rather than listening to their constituents, state officials responded with repeated attempts to silence our communities, even resorting to prejudice and violence. In the face of this needless cruelty, trans kids and the majority of Texans who support them mobilized in record numbers to fight for our lives. We will continue to do so throughout Pride Month and beyond, rising on the shoulders of our Black and Brown trans ancestors who resisted at Stonewall, the Compton Cafeteria riots, and more. Resilience and love-fueled resistance is our inheritance and our calling, and we are answering.”
The following quote can be attributed to Emmett Schelling (he/him), Executive Director at Transgender Education Network of Texas:
“The Texas legislature used this session as another opportunity to launch a barbaric hate campaign against trans and queer Texans. Legislators treat our lives like a game, treating our freedoms like backroom deals and selling us out. The bigotry displayed this session should have legislators feeling disgraced and ashamed. Our freedom to live is non-negotiable. In the face of hate, trans and queer Texans remain unified and immovable. Their attempts to erase us and shut us out won’t work. Texas is our home and we’ll continue to fight to ensure our community is safe and flourishing year round.”
The following quote can be attributed to Ricardo Martinez (he/him), CEO at Equality Texas:
“This has been the toughest legislative session LGBTQ+ Texans have ever faced. And yet, in the face of so much hate, we kept showing up, we kept speaking up, and we never gave up. We have been relentless, persistent, and fearless. We’ve built a community together that has the power to change hearts and minds. Collectively, we are building the Texas we deserve. Though the fight is long, one day we will win. The power of our community fills me with so much pride. While we are all grieving for what we have lost, for Pride Month this year we will cling even closer to each other. They will not tread on our families, our neighbors, or our friends.”
The following quote can be attributed to Melodía Gutiérrez (she/her), Texas State Director at the Human Rights Campaign:
“It’s not unusual to finish a legislative session exhausted and worn down by the process, but this session, our community is heartsick, in fear for our future, and banned from necessary medical care, participation and sports, and with other equality measures either limited or at risk. This session, Texas alone introduced more than 20% of the 500+ anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in legislatures across the country. The anti-LGBGTQIA+ bills passed this session exponentially increase the harms done directly to Texans, especially transgender youth and the people who love them.”
The following quote can be attributed to Shelly Skeen (she/her), Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal:
“Every human being, every Texan, and every LGBTQ+ Texan unequivocally deserves respect, dignity, equity and equal access to laws that protect them, that do not harm them, and that do not erase them. The AIFE Coalition, everyday LGBTQ+ Texans and our allies showed up at the Legislature to demand that dignity and respect. And even though we did not stop all of the new anti-LGBTQ+ bills, our work had a positive effect on the new laws that affect all Texans. As we head into Pride Month, we should all be proud of what we accomplished at the Legislature and we will celebrate the preciousness of our existence knowing that we will continue to demand equity and equality everyday–accepting nothing less.”
The following quote can be attributed to Val Benavidez (she/her), Executive Director at Texas Freedom Network:
“Texans deserve legislators who use their power to help us, not harm us. I am truly disgusted that our elected officials spent this session attacking the LGBTQIA+ community’s right to health care, education, freedom of expression, and safe existence instead of doing the jobs for which they were elected. As Pride Month begins, we must remember that anti-LGBTQ extremists who traffic in lies and fear can never take away the powerful, strong community that we’ve built with each other. They’re terrified of us because they know that our love will always be stronger than their hate. We will not allow LGBTQIA+ Texans to be erased, and we will use our collective strength to hold elected officials accountable at the ballot box and in the courts for the harm they’ve caused Texans.”
If you or someone you know needs mental health resources or support, please visit:
—Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or https://www.translifeline.org
—Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or https://www.thetrevorproject.org/