Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, has announced a boycott of SB3 hearing. It comes as queer youth in Texas have overwhelmed community resources in the state as they desperately look for help in the face of increasingly punitive gender-related legislation and its hearings.

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

“We cannot in good faith ask trans people, trans children, their loving families, and community advocates to participate in the political theatre of the Texas Senate. We have watched the immediate effects of trauma manifest in our advocates as a result of their participation in Senate hearings this year.

"Numbness, detachment, anxiety, fear, sadness, restlessness, and despair have been commonly experienced by LGBTQ+ community members who have testified during this year’s Senate hearings."

"These feelings are a direct result of the invasive questions and manipulative tactics used by committee members and the bullying of anti-LGBTQ+ activists. During the most cruel hearing, which took place early in the second-called special session, Senators repeatedly asked parents about their kids' genitals, patronized young people of color, abruptly dismissed witnesses, interrupted and talked over advocates, or were simply not paying attention. Lawmakers showed up with one goal: to serve up misinformation and to disregard the truth in favor of amplifying transphobia,” continued Martinez.

Chairwoman Lois Kolkhorst (Rep.) was the author of the 2017 bathroom bill, Senator Charles Perry (Rep.) has filed more anti-transgender legislation this year than any other lawmaker, and Senator Bob Hall (Rep.) filed one of the most dangerous bills we’ve seen this year which would make it illegal for counselors to even treat children with gender dysphoria. 

During the regular session and the last special session, advocates and community members presented the Texas Senate with unequivocal evidence that Texas transgender children are harmed every time they are forced to see their lives debated during hearings about their participation in sports and their access to affirming healthcare.

The Equality Texas Statement continued:

“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. We will have no part in another one.” 

Instead of participating in the Senate hearing, community advocates rallied at the Capitol at noon on Sep. 21.

Andrew Van Dorsselaer

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