Texas Legislators’ Relentless Political Attacks Make Texas Unsafe for LGTBQ+ People

by HRC Staff

With more than 100 bills that would harm the LGTBQ+ community introduced in Texas and 25+ advancing through the legislature, LGTBQ+ Texans wonder: is Texas our Texas?

AUSTIN, TX – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — asks Texas legislators to STOP their relentless attack on LGTBQ+ Texans. Anti-equality legislators in Texas have introduced more than 100 anti-LGTBQ+ bills, and more than 25 are currently advancing through the legislature. While the bills themselves will directly harm LGTBQ+ people and their families if passed, the environment created by the debate and discussion of these bills is already causing harm.

Texas alone is responsible for more than 20% of the 500 anti-LGTBQ+ bills that have been introduced in state legislatures across the country. In Austin, as the legislature hits the frantic pace of its final weeks, anti-LGBTQ+ legislators are pushing discriminatory bills like gender affirming care bans, drag show bans, sports bans and gender marker bans.

With every new ban that receives a hearing, a committee vote, or a floor vote, the anti-LGBTQ+ intent of these bills becomes more and more apparent. Legislators are spending an enormous amount of legislative time and resources advancing measures that would cruelly and drastically limit the freedoms of LGBTQ+ Texans — and that’s discrimination. LGBTQ+ Texans are already feeling the negative effects from just the debate around these hateful bills – many feel increasingly unsafe and unwelcome in their own hometowns. Legislators are sending a clear message that Texas is not a safe place for LGBTQ+ people.”

Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

Last year’s declaration by the Attorney General that Gender Affirming Care is “child abuse,” and the subsequent order from the Governor for the State to investigate affirming families of transgender children has created a toxic environment for our community. In particular, loving families of transgender children are living in fear.

We’ve spent the last four legislative sessions traveling to the Capitol to testify against bills that very specifically target my transgender daughter. It never felt easy, but we felt safe in our community and our home. To grow and thrive, children need to feel safe and loved — and our state leaders are making that impossible. I spend my days working to make people understand how much damage the anti-trans bills will inflict on trans kids and their families. I spend my nights comforting my three children when they wake up from nightmares about our family being separated or forced to leave our home.“

Rachel Gonzales, mother of a 13-year-old transgender daughter.

We are experiencing an ongoing trauma as a result of the anti-trans legislation in Texas. The societal debate these bills have created around trans youth has been extremely harmful and dehumanizing for our child. We now live in a constant state of fear and anxiety because of the governor's directive. We live our lives in limbo while legislators continue trying to strip our child's human rights, bodily autonomy, and healthcare away. We struggle to plan for a future that remains uncertain as we don't know if we will be pushed out of our state as a result of what legislation is actually passed this session.”

Lisa and Jeff Stanton, parents of a 12-year-old transgender daughter

These efforts are driven by a small group of special interest funders and extremist legislators but will have a major impact on LGBTQ+ Texans and their families. The animus aimed at transgender Texans is particularly heart-wrenching, especially when coupled with the glee of the anti-trans forces behind these bills.

HRC is tracking more than 220 Texas bills, including:

  • 100+ bills HRC opposes because of the potential to harm LGBTQ+ Texans

  • 70+ additional bills HRC is watching because they could turn into vehicles for harmful amendments

  • 45+ bills that HRC supports

A partial list of harmful bills that are advancing through the legislative process follows.

Bans on gender-affirming medical care:

  • SB 14 ban on medically-necessary gender-affirming medical care
    • passed full Senate and House Public Health Committee

  • SB 1029 gender affirming care ban
    • passed Senate

  • SB 250 gender affirming care ban prohibiting professional liability coverage for health care providers
    • passed Senate committee

  • HB 888 extends statute of limitations against health care provider providing gender affirming medical care
    • passed House committee

  • HB 1686 gender affirming care ban
    • passed House committee

  • HB 3502 requires insurance to cover de-transition procedures
    • passed House committee

Bans on acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ+ people:

  • SB 8 allows public school funding to be used for private school vouchers that contains a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” provision for education
    • passed Senate

  • SB 17 Prohibiting DEI offices in state colleges and universities
    • passed Senate and a similar provision was also added to House budget

  • SB 162 banning changes to gender markers on birth certificates
    • passed Senate

  • SB 1072 local school health advisory councils/don’t say LGTBTQ+
    • passed Senate committee

  • HB 1507 - Don’t Say LGBTQ+
    • heard in House committee 3-28-23

  • HB 1804 CRT/LGBTQ curricula censorship, bans SOGI
    • heard in House committee 4-20-23

  • HB 1952 - Birth Certificate gender restrictions
    • passed House committee

  • HB 3147 anti-trans juvenile justice bill
    • heard in committee 4-24-23

Ban on trans participation in sports

  • SB 15 ban on transgender athletes who meet the criteria set out by the NCAA playing for public universities
    • passed Senate and scheduled for House Higher Education Committee hearing 5-1-23

Bans on free speech and drag shows:

  • SB 12 ban on drag shows that creates a civil penalty and a criminal offense
    • passed Senate

  • SB 1601 ban on family friendly story hours with readers wearing drag that defunds public libraries that host them
    • passed Senate

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