The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) presented its annual Houston Dinner at Marriott Marquis Houston. Themed “There’s No Stopping Us Now,” the event featured speeches by local and national LGBTQ activists, including Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and actress Alexandra Billings.
O’Rourke, who was endorsed by HRC last month, outlined a positive, unifying vision for the future of Texas while condemning Governor Greg Abbott’s treatment of transgender youth and the cruel anti-LGBTQ legislative bills that were proposed at the Capitol in 2021.
“I know those of you who are from Texas feel embarrassed when we hear our friends and relatives in other parts of the country who are reading about us for all of the wrong reasons,” O’Rourke said. “This crazed fixation that our governor—the most powerful man in the state of Texas—has about transgender children and their parents, trying to criminalize them and rip those kids away from the most loving parents that I have ever met across my travels in Texas… We’re going to follow the lead of these extraordinary parents of trans children.”
Alexandra Billings, a trans woman, shared her experience to push activists to continue fighting hard for trans rights.
“I began my transition in 1979 and spent many, many, many nights in jail because people really hated what I was,” Billings said. “They thought it was a fad or a fetish or a costume or an idea or a philosophy. And what I am would trigger them so badly that they had to design laws to keep me away from them. They don’t hate us. You have to stop using that word. They don’t hate us, they don’t know us. How could they hate something they don’t know? They’re terrified of us—terrified because they don’t like our freedom.”
HRC is America’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. For more information, visit hrc.org.