Over 30 anti-LGBTQ Texas bills—including 13 that directly targeted transgender youth—were introduced and defeated during this year’s Legislative Session.
Pro-equality activists, politicians, and organizations like Equality Texas, the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) rallied against these bills throughout the session, which began January 12 and ended May 31.
“It’s been a long, hard road to get here, and we absolutely could not have done it without you, our partner organizations and LGBTQ+ champions in the Texas House,” Equality Texas said in a statement.
There was a record number of anti-trans bills filed across the nation this year, and Texas led the pack with over a dozen bills—including Senator Charles Perry’s SB 29, which would ban trans youth from participating in gender-affirming sports. After that particular bill failed, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick publicly asked Governor Greg Abbott to call a special session to revive the anti-trans legislation.
“It’s unlikely at this time that there will be a special session to bring back SB 29, the ban on transgender youth playing sports,” Equality Texas said. “Follow us on social media so we can keep you updated if anything develops.”
The other defeated anti-trans bills were intended to prohibit youth from accessing transition-related health care. SB 1646 would have classified trans-related health care for teens as “child abuse,” and SB 1311 would have revoked the medical licenses of healthcare professionals who offer gender-affirming health care to trans youth. Neither of these bills even made it to the House floor.
“Trans kids are not here to be used as political pawns for your primary election campaigns,” said Adri Perez, the ACLU’s policy and advocacy strategist on LGBTQ issues.
Perez credits the protests by trans youth and their families, both online and in-person at the Capitol, with defeating the bills. “What was significant was families showing up and speaking for their trans kids, and sharing their stories,” Perez said. “It’s hard to deny someone’s identity to their face.”
While the victory is empowering, the extremely stressful Legislative Session took a toll on many people’s mental health, Perez noted. “I am grateful to the advocates and allies that worked day in and day out to defeat these bills, but I am also worried for their mental health in the long run.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to do this as a trans person,” Perez said, “and to represent so many of the people that could not make it to this point because of anti-trans violence.”