Transgender Day of Visibility Rally in Austin, TX

by Preston Knight

On April 2nd the All in For Equality (AIFE) coalition (ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, HRC, Lambda Legal, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Texas Freedom Network) hosted this rally to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility and shine a light on Trans Joy, even in the hate-filled political climate of Texas.

Emceed by Rev. Rimmington Olivia Johnson, the rally featured persons of trans experience, parents and friends of Trans Texans who shared their stories.

HRC was joined on stage by actor, writer, and star of the David E. Kelly hit show, Big Sky, Jesse James Keitel. She shared her story as a woman of trans experience, and offered a message of support for those being attacked by their own State Government. Jesse’s message was filled with love, bravery, and happiness, she closed with a reminder to the attendees that they are entitled to thrive, sparkle and shine.

Our brave community members were also joined by organization representatives who shared messages of love and support from their orgs to the transgender community of Texas in addition to reading letters from trans kids or their parents. The letters are powerful as they each represent a voice being trampled on by politicians cowardly enough to attack children, including indicted Texas Attorney General Paxton, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Governor Abbott.

An 8 year old transgender Texas child said in her letter:

“I'm an 8 year old trans girl trying to survive in Texas. Before the Texas Legislative session in 2021 I never really spent much time thinking about how different I am than other kids. My friends who know I'm trans don't care, love me just the same.”

“It wasn't until last year that I worried about not being treated the same as others. And just last week I found out what a lawyer is, and who CPS is. My mom had to explain that some people might come talk to me and ask me a bunch of questions that might hurt to hear. My parents are so worried, my mom cries a lot and my dad is really angry at Texas.”

“I don't want to move because my grandma is here and my brother and I get to help her with her chickens and play in her creek. Plus she makes the best waffles on Saturday mornings. I also don't want to leave my school and my friends. Please stop coming after families like mine. I love my mom and dad more than anyone, except my brother, and they're doing everything they can to keep me safe.”

A Texas parent said in their letter:

“I have lived in Texas for nearly 20 years with my wife and children. Texas has been the only home my children have ever known. I have been blessed to become the parent of a transgender teenager. We felt strongly that God prepared us to be his parents; and we knew our role would be to affirm, love, and support him. We love our son, and all of our children, with all of our hearts. We have worked to raise them to be loving, hard workers, educated, and brave.”

Another Texas parent shared:

My child has become the most amazing, self-aware, compassionate human in the last year and a half since he came out to us as trans. He went from being curt, reserved, unhappy, depressed, and even destructive to kind, light-hearted, and joyous. Watching him find who he is and be brave enough to ask the world to see him for who he really is should be an inspiration to all. As parents, helping our children prosper and become responsible citizens who give back to their communities is the goal.

While our fight for equality in Texas continues, we’re grateful for the moments where we can come together to share joy and celebrate. There is no greater love than that of a parent, guardian or chosen family. Regardless of your views, you can feel the love these amazing parents have for their children.

We will continue to fight for equality. For you, for me, and for the future generations.

If you’re a child, parent, guardian or chosen family of someone impacted by the baseless, craven political attacks coming from politicians cruel enough to attack children. We love you and the 600+ people came to the Capitol on Saturday to rally love you too.

You can send “Texas” to 472-472 to call Texas Governor Abbott. Tell him to leave trans kids alone.

Can we count you in?

The more people who show they care, including allies and trans and non-binary people who speak up for the most marginalized in our community, the more hearts and minds we will change.