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Texas Trans Leader Named One of TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential People of 2022’

Emmett Schelling was honored for fighting the wave of anti-trans legislation.

Emmett Schelling speaking at a press conference in March (screen grab via Equality Texas on Facebook)

A Texas transgender activist is being recognized as a part of this year’s ‘TIME 100’ list, the publication’s annual roundup of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Emmett Schelling, executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), was honored by TIME on May 23 in an article written by Chase Strangio, the ACLU’s deputy director for transgender justice.

“For the past five years, Texas lawmakers have made it a priority to target transgender youth, introducing dozens of anti-trans bills. Emmett Schelling has spent day and night fighting back and building love and safety for his community,” Strangio wrote. 

Schelling spent several months at the Capitol in Austin last year fighting against the record number of anti-trans bills filed during the 2021 Legislative Session. Thanks to the combined work of Schelling, TENT, and hundreds of LGBTQ advocates, only one anti-trans school sports ban bill was passed into law. 

Despite multiple failed attempts during the session to pass laws that would restrict access of gender-affirming care for trans children, Governor Greg Abbott continued his attacks on trans youth by attempting to criminalize gender-affirming care as a form of child abuse. “Emmett, himself a father and a trans man, again mobilized the entire state to fight back,” Strangio said.

Schelling was named the executive director of TENT in 2017. The organization is dedicated to furthering gender-diverse equality in Texas through education and networking in both public and private forums. 

“Overwhelmed, grateful, and confused on how I made the #TIME100 Most Influential, just to say the least,” Schelling tweeted.  

For more information about TENT, visit transtexas.org. To see the full TIME 100 list, go here.

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart magazine.
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