Austin, TX – The Houston Stonewall Young Democrats (HSYD) met with members of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus (TSDC) from all across the state in Austin on March 5 and 6 to strategize, share best practices and set a path to success for upcoming elections.
Participants heard two powerful keynote speeches from openly bisexual Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema and national transgender activist Mara Keisling.
Senator Sinema discussed how Arizona is the breeding ground for most of the anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-worker’s rights and anti-children’s health care legislation that is currently being proposed in many state legislatures, including Texas. She warned that “Arizona is coming to a state near you” and characterized this as an attempt by the so-called Tea Party to “mainstream hatred in this country”. She stated that the Tea Party has been around for 20 years and is just another name for Republicans.
Senator Sinema outlined ways that Democrats can build coalitions to stop these bad bills from becoming law and encouraged LGBT Democrats to reach out to allies, even unlikely ones, and support their issues in exchange for their support of ours. “After all, LGBT people make up only 4 percent of the electorate and you need 50 percent plus one to win,” she said.
Other guest speakers at the conference included Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman and State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio).
In addition, Houston Stonewall Young Democrats board member, Brad Pritchett, was awarded the TSDC Buck Massey Legacy of Leadership Award for outstanding leadership and service to the TSDC, the Democratic Party and the LGBT community.
The conference was timed to occur on the weekend before Equality Texas Lobby Day and many who attended the conference joined hundreds of other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Texans and their straight allies on Monday, March 7, at the State Capitol to speak to state legislators about anti-bullying and other bills important to the LGBT community.
The Houston Stonewall Young Democrats is a group of Houston-area young progressives, aged 14 to 40, whose focus is to educate the GLBT community about the issues affecting them, to mobilize the community to get out to vote on Election Day for fair-minded Democrats, and to fight for GLBT civil rights while leading the Democratic party to continue improving its record on issues important to the GLBT community.