by Foster Milburn
On March 27, 2023, Equality Texas, a statewide political organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, posted a “call to action” on their social media websites. They called for an emergency rally titled “Fight for our lives.” The rally took place at 2 p.m. at the rotunda located on the ground floor of the Texas State Capitol. Their reasoning – to protest the imminent passing of House Bill 1686 (HB 1686).
HB 1686 aims to prevent healthcare coverage for gender-affirming care amongst youth in the state and allows the prosecution of a medical professional who provides such care regardless of parental consent. As of March 28, 2023, the bill is likely to pass the house and activists revisited the capitol to protest the bill and the detrimental effects it would have on transgender youth.
On the capitol grounds, activists were lined up down to the street on the south side. Due to the legislative session, the capitol has been crowded, but the energy was different, with activists feeling more panicked than usual at the prospect of the passing of this bill – one of several anti-LGBTQ+ bills that the state legislature is working to pass.
Testimonies were cut short at midnight and activists fell to the ground and chanted “Klick lies, kids die” referring to Representative Stephanie Klick, Chair of the Public Health Committee, who is overseeing discussions regarding the bill. Those who were unable to speak out may submit a public comment of their testimony through Friday, limited to 3000 characters.
Another bill, HB 2055, aims to repeal an antiquated law preventing same-sex relationships. The law remains on Texas books. Activists are calling for support of this bill and urging the public to stop by capitol grounds to drop a card and/or give a testimony.
You can track the status of all bills using Equality Texas’ bill tracking system.