Submitted by HRC Texas Field Organizer Erika Galindo
Tuesday’s vote by the Texas Senate to advance anti-LGBTQ SB3 was no surprise to me. It aligned with the pattern we’ve seen this past legislative session as extreme legislators advance anti-transgender legislation without listening to the voices of Texans. Senator Lois Kolkhorst’s bill would require any person to use the restroom that matches their birth certificate, or other Texas issued identification, when using restrooms or locker rooms in certain Texas public buildings, including schools. This bill also would preempt local control in cities which have already passed non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, because it would remove those protections to the extent they impact restrooms.
Being raised in Texas means that I’ve become very aware of the notion that our state government does not love me and my community as much as I love my state. While we knew that the odds were against us, watching the Senate from the gallery yesterday as they advanced a hateful bill was heartbreaking nonetheless. We have witnessed trans Texans, their families and communities testify three times now, traveling great distances and waiting long hours to only have as little as two minutes to plead with lawmakers to not take away their right to navigate their lives in public peacefully.
Sometimes my family members and friends have lamented that doing this work is pointless in a state ‘as backwards and conservative as Texas.’ But working at HRC and having had the privilege to meet and organize with folks in my hometown of Mission, Texas, the rest of the Rio Grande Valley, and the rest of Texas has told me otherwise.
There are people who have willingly given hours of their lives to make calls to other Texans to help connect with rural pockets of our vast state who may feel isolated from activity going on in the Texas Capitol. These people have pooled their networks and resources together to reach as many members of their communities as possible to let them know just how the state of Texas is throwing some of the most vulnerable members of our community under the bus for political points and what they can do to stop it. These folks have done wonders to decipher complicated bills, navigate the sometimes inaccessible legislative processes, and make sure that trans Texans have the ability to live their authentic lives peacefully and with dignity.
Now, these folks, along with the HRC Texas team and our strong coalition of allied organizations, will continue to organize. We will travel great distances and make ourselves vulnerable again as SB3 makes its way to the Texas House of Representatives, and we’ll do it because we know that fighting discrimination is the only choice we have.
If you live in Texas, you can contact your elected officials opposing anti-LGBTQ legislation here. Want to do more? Click here to volunteer with HRC Texas to help push back against anti-LGBTQ legislation.