VIDEOS: Beto O'Rourke and Alexandra Billings Featured at Human Rights Campaign’s Houston Dinner

by Aryn Fields

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hosted its Houston dinner on Saturday night, April 9, 2022. The event featured a speech from Beto O'Rourke, whom HRC endorsed for Texas Governor last month. While outlining a positive, unifying vision for the future of Texas, he condemned Governor Abbott’s abhorrent treatment of transgender youth and the cruel anti-LGBTQ+ legislative bills that have taken hold in the state capitol. The evening also included remarks from actor and activist Alexandra Billings, who discussed her experience transitioning and the vitriol that has always existed for transgender individuals.

Click here for videos of Beto O’Rourke and Alexandra Billings. Excerpts from their speeches are below.

I know those of you who are from Texas feel embarrassed when we hear from our friends and relatives in other parts of the country who are reading about us for all of the wrong reasons. This crazed fixation that our governor, the most powerful man in the State of Texas, has about transgender children and their parents, trying to criminalize them and rip those kids away from the most loving parents that I have ever met across my travels in Texas.

...We're going to follow the lead of these extraordinary parents of transgender children, whom I've met in the State Capitol, who patiently and gracefully drive themselves and their kids from Corpus Christi, or Brownsville, or El Paso, or Tarrant County down to the Capitol to testify in front of those who would harm their children and strip away their rights and make it more dangerous literally for them to live in this state. You have met this cruelty with your power, with your fortitude, with the courage of your convictions, and that's exactly how we are running this campaign.

Beto O'Rourke, HRC Endorsed Candidate for Texas Governor

Did you see the trans children in this room? Did you see them? How much do you think they're worth? What are their lives worth to you? I began my transition in 1979. And I spent time in jail many, many, many nights in jail—because people really hated what I was…

They thought it was a fad or a fetish or costume or an idea or a philosophy. And what I am triggered them so badly that they had to design laws to keep me away from them. They don't hate us. You have to stop using that word. They don't hate us. They don't know us. How could they hate something they don't know? They're terrified of us. Terrified because they don't like our freedom.

Alexandra Billings, Actor and Activist

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