AUSTIN, Texas - In the 2023 Legislative Session, 64 bills have been filed in relation to the LGBTQ+ community. The most bills to be filed in a single regular session.
"We're going into session the first day of the session, the full 140 days, knowing that, you know, we have numerous bills that have been filed that are anti-LGBTQ, but there are also a lot of good bills," said Ricardo Martinez, CEO for Equality Texas.
Equality Texas claims 29 of those bills provide protections while the other 35 bills are anti-LGBTQ+ community bills.
"Does it surprise me? No. Does it anger me? Yes, because we deserve to have our humanity considered. We deserve peace. We deserve safety," said Martinez.
However, not everyone thinks that way.
"The legislative process, in many ways, is about finding solutions to problems and so a lot of the legislation that you see filed is addressing some of the current problems of our day," said Jonathan Saenz, President and Attorney for Texas Values.
The 35 bills Equality Texas has identified as targeting LGBTQ+ include:
- Bills that enact health care bans and limits to life-saving health care for transgender kids
- Bills that limit classroom instruction about sexual orientation
- Bills that seek to restrict drag shows as well as drag show performers
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Saenz says these bills are in response to what Texas republicans voters have told them to do.
"Don't want kids being forced to go through sex change operations. They don't want naked women and men dancing around with kids at these drag queen events, and they don't want women losing opportunities to men in college sports," he said.
Martinez says these anti-LGBTQ+ bills are harmful.
"LGBTQ people want to live life in peace and to protect the gains that we have made over the course of the last 50 or so years, and this year, Texas legislators have assembled a slate of invasive bills that spy on our teachers, that pry into our medical decisions and dictate our brunch entertainment, and these bills targeting every aspect of our daily lives. I think, you know, this should be concerning for all Texans," said Martinez.
He says his organization is going to make their presence known during this legislative session.
"I would tell people is to, in this moment, where you may be experiencing despair, just know that there are thousands of people and this is across all of Texas that have your back and that have your best interests and that are fighting every single day," said Martinez.