With Six Weeks Left This Session, Queer Texans Aren’t Done Fighting

Bad bills keep moving


Hundreds marched this week in protest of the 140 anti-LGBTQIA bills moving through the Legislature (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Sweating in 92-degree weather Saturday, hundreds of queer Texans marched from the Bullock Museum to the front of the state Capitol, chanting, "Scaredy cat, scaredy cat/ Klick, Klick, Klick/ Silencing Texans/ Sick, sick, sick."

Progressive nonprofit heavy- hitters Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, ACLU Texas, Lambda Legal, and the Human Rights Campaign organized the protest of 140 anti-LGBTQ bills filed in this year's Texas Legislature.

Once the circumference of the Capitol had been rounded, a rally formed at the south entrance. With a crowd shouting behind them, TENT Outreach and Communications Manager Gin Nguyên Pham spoke with vigor about the need to fight back against the "bull" that conservative lawmakers are trying to pass. "My dream is for my community and myself to become trans elders," they said. "I want to age beautifully. I want to age powerfully. I want to be loved. I want to live here. I want to be with my community." That speech was followed by words from Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, who emphasized the scant six weeks left in this year's legislative session, while also praising the propulsive energy generated by the march's huge turnout. "There are hundreds of people out here on a Saturday," he said. "We're giving up our time. Some of us have AP exams, okay?" Making that time, being visible, is what he contends will make all the difference. "We have never had institutional power in this state," he said. "We've always had the people. It's the people who have shown up time and time again to stop 99% of every bad bill that's been filed in this state Legislature."

The march comes on the heels of multiple bills targeting transgender youth and their health care being passed through House and Senate committees. Friday, April 14, the House Committee on Public Health passed a version of Senate Bill 14, which would not only halt health coverage of gender affirming care for minors but also revoke the licenses of physicians prescribing that care. As reported by Lauren McGaughy of The Dallas Morning News, SB 14 was passed through the committee hastily – without any livestream or recording of the vote, and sans two members.

Adri Pérez of Texas Freedom Network pointed out that this bill hasn't been testified against, unlike its twin, House Bill 1686, which notably had its list of over 400 testimony sign-ups cut short, with Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Ft. Worth, citing time constraints. "They subbed out the bill that people did testify on for one that is sort of a Frankenstein conglomeration of every bad health care bill that they've filed this session," Perez said. "So this march couldn't have come at a better time. It was really important for the community to be able to just see the incredible power that we are able to hold when we come together for events like this."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

LGBTQ, 88th Legislature, Equality Texas, SB 14

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