Monday, July 22, 2024

Rally in Austin as Equality Texas takes stand against anti-trans bill

Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, has released a statement on Senate Committee passage of SB3. 

Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas, released the following statement on the bill:

“Today (Sep. 22) the Senate disgracefully — but predictably — passed SB 3, a bill designed to fix the manufactured crisis of trans kids dominating UIL sports with zero (0) examples cited on the floor. The passage of this bill is not an effort to protect girls’ or women’s sports. It is an assault on the transgender community in Texas, and nothing more,” said Ricardo Martinez (he/him), Chief Executive Officer, Equality Texas. 

He continued, “For a fourth time this year, the Senate debated not only whether transgender youth should be able to play sports, but used language to call into question their identities, and to imply that they are devious and dangerous to other children. This is why such open public debates on the humanity of an already marginalized group cause immediate harm that extends far beyond the scope of the bills themselves.”

Legislators scoff at the idea that promoting 75+ anti-LGBTQ bills since January has had an negative impact on LGBTQ+ people in Texas, but in the last month, due to the public debate about the humanity of trans people, we have seen a continued and worrisome increase in incidents being reported to Equality Texas. Most recently, a transgender middle schooler, whose family just moved to Austin, attempted to take her own life after being bullied by a classmate about her gender identity, a WFISD high school was reported to have pressured teachers to turn over names of students wishing to use names and pronouns other than the ones on their enrollment forms, a pansexual freshman in Royse City and her group of friends were approached at lunch by a fellow student who read anti-gay scripture to them and proceeded to spray them with “holy water” in an effort to make them feel their sexualities and gender identities were disgraceful, and lastly, a cisgender woman physically assaulted a trans woman at a convenience store in Houston. The attack was proceeded by transphobic, xenophobic, and racist slurs. These debates have perpetuated divisiveness, fortified a culture of discrimination, and placed a target on the backs of marginalized communities. 

In contrast to these very real and dangerous examples of harm to the trans community, when directly challenged today, Senator Perry could not cite a single example of a transgender student negatively affecting a cisgender student in sportsor produced any evidence as to why this discriminatory legislation is necessary in Texas. Legislators should leave trans children and their families alone and stay out of their private lives.

“Once again, Senator Charles Perry used the Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing to push his highly controversial bill to exclude transgender youth from particiating in UIL sports in alignment with their gender without citing evidence as to why this discriminatory legislation is necessary in Texas. Legislators scoffed at the idea that promoting 75+ anti-LGBTQ bills since January has had an negative impact on LGBTQ+ youth in Texas and dismissed the testimony of a young trans man, Eli, as anecdotal when he spoke about being forced to wrestle against cisgender girls under UIL rules and often losing, but they continued to make hypothetical assumptions about transgender girls dominating sports.

“We are appalled by this extended assault on our community.  During the regular session and the last two special sessions, advocates and community members tirelessly and courageously presented the Texas Senate with unequivocal evidence that Texas transgender children are deeply harmed every time they are forced to see their lives debated during hearings about their participation in sports and their access to affirming healthcare. Willingly overlooking the harm that anti-trans sports bans have on kids and their families with new hearings just underscores the true intent of bills like this: cruelty.” 

Crisis counselors have fielded over 14,500 calls, texts, and online messages from young LGBTQ Texans looking for support in the last year.

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