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By Josephine P. Tittsworth, ABD, LMSW, BSW, AA
As a native Texan, I find it very difficult to understand how people can condone discrimination. Texas was founded on freedom, not discrimination. Whites, blacks, and Hispanic Texans all fought together to gain freedom from tyranny. William Travis came to Texas from Alabama, fleeing from debts and his wife. James Bowie came to Texas to further his fraudulent land deals and gain wealth in land grants. David Crockett came to Texas to get away from the outrageous U.S. politics. Texans now revere these three men, but they were once considered “undesirables” who understood the importance of freedom. As Texans, we are deeply influenced by their sacrifices, and we all remember the phrase “Remember the Alamo.”
Today we are faced with elected leaders in Austin trying to create a society of hate through discrimination. Enlightened people in Texas have made great advances to ensure that Texans can enjoy a safe and respectful future. Current legislative efforts to curtail freedom through discriminatory laws are an insult to the history of our great state. Instead of promoting freedom and respect for all Texans, our political leaders are openly defying the dignity of a select minority group—lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, intersex people—and our allies.
As citizens of this great state, we need to make our voices heard, loud and clear. “Stop the hate and endorse love” should be our anthem for freedom under these circumstances.
We can find common ground and work through our differences. No matter how difficult it may seem when faced with the impenetrable barrier of religious beliefs and social norms, those barriers can be torn down—just as the Berlin Wall was torn down after decades of communist repression. We proud Texans must be willing to claim our right to freedom and justice.
The Texas legislative session in Austin begins in January. Legislators have submitted numerous bills to curtail the rights of Texans. Even though their discriminatory legislation would only impact a few minority groups directly, eventually all Texans will carry the burden of wrongly persecuting minority citizens.
We encourage everyone to let their voices for social justice be heard, loudly and clearly. We must fight against myths, stereotyping, misinformation, unfounded propaganda, and any form of injustice that hurts our neighbors and neighborhoods. The Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit (501c3) stands for justice, along with Equality Texas and the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.