Nearly no other issue has embodied the backward obsessions of the modern-day Texas GOP more than the fight for transgender rights in Texas.
In 2015, Texas conservatives set their eyes on repealing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which expanded civil rights protections for many Houstonians. Republicans anchored their campaign around dangerous lies about the transgender community in an effort to confuse and mislead the public. Unfortunately, it worked. And what it set in motion is a nearly decade-long GOP war on transgender Texans.
That’s where TENT, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, stepped in. TENT is the largest, trans-led, policy-focused organization in Texas and they have become a force in Texas politics.
On March 8th, the organization will host the TENT Trans Advocacy Day at the Texas State Capitol. This event has been running in many different forms since 2015 and this is the first return to in-person since the pandemic. In 2019, when the organization had its last in-person advocacy day, over 300 trans and gender-expansive Texans from across Texas joined to urge lawmakers against discrimination.
There’s no more important time for TENT to up their advocacy efforts. The 88th Legislative session will be one of the most difficult for LGBTQ Texans – specifically transgender Texans. The Texas GOP has set its focus on a coordinated effort to ban LGBTQ+ people from public spaces: including an outright ban on transgender athletes, criminalizing healthcare and providers, and making education institutions dangerous and unsafe.
“The conversations between us and our loved ones are the same ones we are urging folks to have with their legislators on the 8th, the true impact of the laws that have passed, what we hope to see for those we love in our communities, and what they foresee as the future in the bills that have been filed,” said Andrea Morales in a comment to Signal.
Emmett Yoon, the Executive Director of TENT, echoed those sentiments. “Trans Advocacy day is an opportunity to amplify every alarm that has been sounded for years by trans and gender expansive community members, about what this means not just for Texas, not just for trans kids and their families, not just for trans and non-binary adults, but anyone who lives here.”