Conservative, liberal groups testify at State Capitol over controversial legislation

Texans on all sides of the political spectrum are making their voices heard when it comes to controversial legislation that has been filed this session.

"Drag queens are not for kids, and we need to not be harming kids with chemicals and surgeries," said Tracy Shannon, director of MassResistance Texas. "And dirty books don't belong in the school libraries."

On Monday, members of conservative groups including Protect Texas Kids, the Texas Family Defense Committee and MassResistance Texas traveled to Austin. Throughout the week they will be lobbying for various pieces of legislation including bills that would ban pediatric gender modification and change how certain books are vetted before they hit public school libraries.

"We’re just seeing a lot of books that are sexually inappropriate in our public schools, and we feel that there needs to be more done to make sure that those do not end up in our libraries," said Shannon. "Our school policies, which are basically carbon copies of American Library Association policies, really make it difficult to get those books out."

Also on Monday, Equality Texas, along with the Transgender Education Network of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign held the 2023 All in for Equality Advocacy Day at the Texas Capitol. 

This year, they highlighted the number of bills they believe target the LGBTQ+ community.

"Having 139 anti-LGBTQ bills filed is not normal, this is an escalation of astronomical proportions," said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas. "I think that we could do a lot with that time to do good for Texas instead of wasting our time arguing bills that are not going to help anyone and that are going to harm a tremendous amount of people."

Martinez noted, after working closely with some of the lawmakers, there are over a hundred "good bills" that have been filed, as well. 

"I would love for lawmakers to listen to the people that are here, to listen to their concerns, to internalize what it means to be an LGBTQ person right now from the perspective of someone who may live in their district, who may be afraid as a result of the anti-LGBTQ extremism and the hateful rhetoric that we hear pretty often," said Martinez.