Discrimination Hurts All Texans, Not Only Those Who Are Specifically Targeted by Bad Bills

by HRC Staff

THEN: Two sessions ago, the Texas legislature unsuccessfully proposed discriminatory anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas, including a high-profile “bathroom bill.” The reaction was swift: thousands of Texans spoke out against the proposed bills, including 27 Fortune 500 companies, nearly 500 faith leaders and 50,124 people who took action by signing petitions or testifying against these harmful bills.

NOW: In 2021, the Texas Legislature is setting a record for the highest number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed in the country. Despite the will of Texans — and more broadly, Americans — on these topics, some legislators have continued their efforts to make discrimination legal in Texas.

We need to see whether real solutions are being offered, or whether [the Republican party is] gonna wander off into the culture wars again. We’ve got the women’s NCAA basketball tournament in San Antonio and there’s been some news out of there that reminds me of the bill we haven’t discussed, dealing with transgender sports… Are we going to obsess about that and ignore the grid? Are we going to obsess about some of these culture war issues that again relate back to getting a small majority in a very low turnout primary?

Former Republican Speaker of the House, Joe Straus

Anti-Equality Bills are Moving in Texas Legislature Now

The Texas Legislature has set a record this year for the highest number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed in the country. Texans traveled hundreds of miles and waited many hours to testify about the life-threatening harms that discriminatory anti-trans sports bans and anti-trans medical bills will cause — despite this, this past week, two bills that target transgender youth advanced.

  • The Senate passed Senate Bill 29, legislation aimed at banning transgender youth from participating in sports. Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks on transgender youth, laying bare the reality that they are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact. This bill is opposed by educators, sports organizations and medical professionals. Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident — in Texas or anywhere else.
  • The House Public Health Committee also advanced HB 1399, a medical care ban targeting transgender children. The House Public Health Committee limited public testimony for HB 1399 and rapidly voted to pass it, in spite of input from transgender children and their families, pediatricians, and other health experts, including the Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association.

Hurting Some Hurts All: Discriminatory legislation puts billions at risk

As we saw from the 2017 bathroom bills, efforts to discriminate in Texas garner national, and even global, attention. Business leaders from the technology sector and international corporations called on Texas and other states to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation. Numerous studies estimated Texas would lose billions if it passed the discriminatory legislation proposed in Texas in 2017 (SB6 and HB 2899).

  • The Texas Association of Business estimated potential losses as high as $8.5 billion, risking 185,000 jobs
  • An independent economist estimated Texas would lose $5.6 billion
  • Tourism organizations Visit San Antonio and San Antonio Area Tourism Council determined Texas stood to lose $3.3 billion
  • Event planners threatened to cancel major conventions and meetings in the state’s four largest cities, with an estimated impact of $407 million in lost short-term revenue alone
  • Potential to lose the 2018 NCAA Final Four, as well as other future sporting events and championships