Qmmunity: Queer Rights and Queer Lives at the Texas Lege

News from Austin’s Pink Dome, plus this weekend’s top queer events


Shane Whalley is Thursday's speaker for Trans Lives/Trans Voices (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Are you a good bill or a bad bill? Although the 87th legislative session has brought us nearly double the number of anti-queer and -trans bills than the previous session (see this week's "Lege Ticker"), new developments in pro-LGBTQIA bills are giving me some reason to hope. On Monday, the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard House Bill 73 and HB 1402. Austin state Rep. Gina Hinojosa's HB 73, if signed into law, would ban "gay and trans panic" legal defenses, while HB 1402, authored by Houston Dem state Rep. Ann Johnson (who is openly part of the LGBTQmmunity, BTW), seeks to add gender identity and expression protections to the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act to strengthen protections for trans Texans. The road ahead, I'm afraid, will be a hard one this session, especially for trans youth who are being targeted by GOP lawmakers with at least 10 anti-trans bills ranging from student athletics to gender affirming health care. Although advocacy efforts under the Pink Dome will be different from previous years, orgs like Equality Texas and the Transgender Education Network of Texas are making sure that the qmmunity can still make their voices heard at the Capitol. Check out www.equalitytexas.org/get-involved-at-the-capitol for an online portal where you can submit written public testimony on specific bills. TENT holds its first-ever virtual Trans Lobby Day next Thursday, March 25, which is a great opportunity to meet with elected representatives and their staffers about the lives and needs of trans Texans. Register for the event on Facebook at www.fb.com/transtexas.

2 to Do

Trans Lives/Trans Voices Every Thursday, Ground Floor Theatre premieres new stories by and about trans and nonbinary Texans, including artists, advocates, and educators, as told in their own words through their own voices. Tonight's guest is local social justice educator Shane Whalley. Thu., March 18, 7pm. Online. Free (donations welcome). www.groundfloortheatre.org.

Authenticity in LGBTQIA Films Directors Adam Baran (Trade Center) and Mari Walker (See You Then), whose films screened at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival, join filmmaker and fellow panelist Angela Washko in exploring: Does it matter who tells queer stories? Moderated by aGLIFF Artistic Director Bears Rebecca Fonté. Sat., March 20, 10am. Online. Free (registration required). www.agliff.org.

Q'd Up

Programming Pride Survey to help Austin's Dougherty Arts Center develop its LGBTQIA programming in the cultural arts. Deadline: April 30. www.austintexas.gov/dac.

Drive-Up HIV/STI Testing No appointment is necessary for free and confidential testing. Questions? Call 512/972-5580. Fridays, 9am-noon. Rosewood Park, 2300 Rosewood. www.austintexas.gov/content/austin-hiv.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13 Viewing Party Mask up and come early to snag a seat, and stick around for some IRL drag courtesy of the queens of Crave. Fridays, 7-9pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. www.fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Saturday Drag Brunch Reserve your table early – and don't forget to bring your mask – for host Candy Van Wales and her entourage of entertainers. Saturdays, 3-5pm. Halcyon, 218 W. Fourth, 512/472-9637. www.halcyonaustin.com.

Taking Back Saturday You bring the mask, DJ BoyFriend brings the tunes that will make you remember your Myspace password. Sat., March 20, 10pm. Drinks Lounge, 2001 E. Cesar Chavez. www.fb.com/boyfriendatx.

Addressing Harm & Moving Toward Healing in Austin's LGBTQIA Community Embrace Austin's first-ever members' meetup tackles what harm looks like in Austin's LGBTQIA community and possible solutions. Sun., March 21, 6:30-8pm. Online. RSVP required. www.fb.com/embraceatx.

Intro to Intro to Sketch Class Irielle Wesley teaches you how to bring the laughs while you learn the basics of writing a comedy sketch. Through March 31. Wednesdays, 6-7:30pm. Online. Tips suggested. www.theegayagenda.com.

BookWoman BookGroup The BookWoman bibliophiles read Toni Morrison's debut novel, The Bluest Eye. Thu., March 25, 7-8:30pm. Online. Free. www.fb.com/bookwomanaustin.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQ, Austin LGBTQ, 87th Legislative Session, Gina Hinojosa, Ann Johnson, Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, "gay and trans panic" legal defense, pro-LGBTQIA legislation, Ground Floor Theatre, aGLIFF

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