BREAKING: Governor Abbott Calls Special Session With Charge to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Texans

by Nick Morrow

HRC sharply criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott for calling a special session specifically to discriminate against transgender Texans.

HRC sharply criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott for calling a special session specifically to discriminate against transgender Texans. Throughout the legislative session, far-right lawmakers have considered anti-LGBTQ legislation including bills that would make it illegal for transgender people to access facilities consistent with their gender identity. Now, Gov. Abbott has decided to waste taxpayers’ time and money to focus on discrimination outside the bounds of the regular legislative session.

“Gov. Abbott has called a special session partly dedicated to discriminating against transgender Texans. In doing so, he has caved to the demands of the fringe politicians who are using LGBTQ people as pawns to win cheap political points,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. “Following a session that already featured an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ bills, Gov. Abbott has decided to bring legislators back to Austin -- wasting taxpayers’ time and money -- in an attempt to deal yet another blow to LGBTQ Texans. We oppose any legislation that would target transgender people, and we will be fighting tooth and nail against bills that would codify discrimination into law.”

Laws that prevent or make it more difficult for transgender people to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity open transgender people up to increased discrimination and harassment as they simply live their everyday lives.

During the 2017 session, the Texas Legislature has pursued a slate of unconscionable anti-LGBTQ bills as part of a systematic effort to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Texans, piece by piece. This anti-equality agenda puts Texas first in an unenviable category: the state spending the most legislative time and energy on efforts designed to legislate discrimination against LGBTQ residents. This session, the Texas legislature introduced at least 30 anti-LGBTQ bills, and 11 passed at least one chamber. By comparison, so far in 2017, all other states combined passed only 13 bills through at least one house. Now, Gov. Abbott has decided that is not enough. We have to ask: how much discrimination will be enough?

HRC has seven field organizers in four offices across Texas who work to mobilize opposition to any anti-LGBTQ legislation. HRC continues to work alongside Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Education Network of Texas and others on the ground to battle against dangerous or harmful bills that attack the dignity of LGBTQ Texans. As a coalition, we will stand together; we will support and comfort one another; and we will continue to work together until we defeat every bill this session that discriminates against LGBTQ Texans.