On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced legislation identical to Senate Bill 29, an anti-transgender bill that died in the Texas House, is on the agenda for the special session beginning July 8.
SB 29 prevented transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their identity.
Equality Texas Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Martinez told the Signal it was disappointing to see fictitious emergencies prioritized over everyday issues that affect Texans like the ERCOT power grid.
“Anti trans legislation which blocks trasngender youth from normal school activites does nothing but send a message to bullies that its okay to attack and humilate transgender kids,” Martinez said. “And worse it normalizes bias and discrimination against transgender people adults and kids alike.”
Martinez also said that during the special session, Republican lawmakers couldn’t reference one example that led to an urgency for SB 29.
“This is all placating to a small, but loud fringe minority,” he said. “And for anti-LGBTQ and anti equality legislatures this is just another opportunity to garner some votes.”
In this special session, Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of Texas and other organizations are focused on defeating this bill again and will be at the forefront of the Capitol, according to Martinez.
“Our staff will be there every single day. There are going to be plenty of opportunities for constituents to have their voices heard whether it’s rallies, events, hearings, visits with their lawmakers,” he said.
Over 36 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced this legislative session, but died in the House or Senate committees from advocates fighting against them.
Martinez said advocates are still tired and are traumatized from the latest regular session, but the fight continues.
“People haven’t had a chance to unpack everything that they experienced,” he said. “And we’re talking about parents who showed up every single day and were heckled with their children by opposition.”
According to Martinez, it’s important that allies from other communities stand in solidarity with the transgender community and help grassroots organizations as much as they can.
“We need all the resources that we can to be able to hold the line one more time,” he said.
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.