Sunday, May 28, 2017

Islamophobia Being Deployed Again In Another Pearland Political Race

Pearland City Council Pos. 7 candidates Woody Owens, left, and Dina Kasseb.  Photo: Houston Chronicle
Did the conservative white males in Pearland not get the message that Islamophobia is not okay at any time, especially when deployed during a campaign?

Islamophobic comments made by the incumbent aimed at Dalia Kasseb probably played a role in Mike Floyd comfortably winning his Pearland ISD school race, and now we may have a replay happening in the runup to the June 10 Pearland mayoral and city council runoffs.

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30 year old pharmacist Dalia Kasseb is making a historic run for a Pearland City Council seat as the first Muslim ever to run for office in Brazoria County.  On May 6 topped a crowded field of candidates in the Position 7 council race to capture 41% of the vote to Owens 21%

She noted in a Houston Chronicle story that when they have met in person, he seemed cordial, but Owens' has been sharing anti- Muslim message and comments on his Facebook page,.

"Our few meetings have been very pleasant,"Kasseb said.  "But for him to be sharing that stuff on Facebook shows what he really believes."


The controversy also has had an indirect impact on the Pearland mayor's race.  Longtime Pearland Mayor Tom Reid is being challenged by 36 year old Quentin Wiltz,  The 91 year old Reid has held the mayor's chair for a combined 34 years (1978-90, 1995-present), and publicly endorsed Owens on who served four terms on Pearland's city council, back on April 6.

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But Reid has been silent since the story broke about the Islamophobic comments that Owens has been sharing on his Facebook page since February 2015.   If Reid doesn't share those opinions, then he may want to open his mouth and say so before June 10 because early voting for the mayoral runoff election begins on May 30, and Wiltz garnered 45% of the vote back on May 6.

Pearland is a fast growing southern suburb of Houston that has grown from a small town of less than 5,000 residents in the 1960's to over 130,000 people, and its population has tripled and gotten more diverse since 2000.  It is currently 47% Anglo, 25% Latinx, 17% African American and 9% Asian .

But it seems as though some peeps either aren't aware of that or are being willfully ignorant about that fact, and the clock is ticking toward the June 10 conclusion of this runoff campaign.

Headed To Austin To Fight Back Against SB 4

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Well, looks like I'm going to be making another trip to Austin in a  few hours.

I was asked to be a speaker at this Memorial Day event to loudly proclaim to the world that we are not down with the actions our oppressive Texas Republican controlled government took in passing the unjust SB 4.

Since 2009, the combined non-white population of Texas outnumbers white people, which is probably why the Texas RepubliKKKans were hellbent on passing this unjust and racist legislation.

They are failing to heed the lessons from the previous times Republican controlled state legislatures passed unjust anti-immigration laws like California's Prop 187 and Arizona's SB 1070.

In California, it incensed and galvanized the state's Latinx population to get involved politically, and that mobilized Latinx population helped flip the state blue in less than a decade.   And FYI Texas Republicans, California, like Texas is another state in which brown folks outnumber white ones.

The Texas GOP oppressors know it too, which is why they passed the unconstitutional voter suppression laws that target Black and Latinx voters and gerrymandered the state to negatively impact non-white Texans.    It's why we need to #FireTheTexasGOP in 2018

Looking forward to spending Memorial Day with my Latinx siblings and expressing my disgust about SB 4.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

IBM Statement Opposing Texas Discriminatory Laws

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With the potential of an anti-trans special session increasing, Texas based companies that opposed SB 6 and HB 2899 are starting to speak up, with IBM being the first to release a statement opposing the passage of any discriminatory laws.
“IBM has a longstanding commitment against discrimination in any form and believes that an inclusive and welcoming environment is the best way to attract talented individuals to our company.   
As a major employer in the state, we urge the Texas legislature and Governor Abbott not to pass or enact laws that will allow for the discrimination of any person based on who they are. These laws do not reflect IBM’s values of diversity, acceptance and inclusion that we have upheld for decades, and they have no place in the 21st Century.” 
– Diane Gherson, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, IBM

Thank you IBM.  Any other Texas based company wish to speak out in opposition to a special session specifically for the purpose of passing an unjust law?.

Dan Patrick's Trying To Force A Special Session To Oppress TX Trans People

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The 85th Texas Legislative session is mercifully drawing to its sine die day close, but  Lt. Governor Dan 'Potty Polizei' Patrick wants a special session to oppress trans people.

Last time I checked the Texas Constitution, only the governor had the power to call a special session, not you.

On Friday Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who made it clear at the beginning of the session that he nor the House is interested in his pet project SB6 bill to oppress trans people, called a rare press conference to announce that the House would waste no more time on his bathroom obsession.

“The House has compromised enough on this issue,” Speaker Straus said at a press conference, announcing that the watered-down version passed by the House was the most his body was willing to do. “It’s absurd that bathroom bills have taken on greater urgency than fixing our school finance system.”
Yes, it is absurd that Dan Patrick has been pushing this issues even that thousands of Texans, the business community and others have said we don't want North Carolina style HB 2 idiocy with a GOP Texas twang in our state oppressing our trans kids and trans Texans.

We thought we'd sent that message loud and clear with us showing up en masse at the Pink Dome back in March and April in opposition for the SB 6 and HB 2899 hearings, but yet Dan Patrick and his Texas GOP lackeys still want to mess with Texas trans people.

Maybe we need to send it again by calling and contacting the governor's office and urging him to resist following Dan Patrick's delusional lead and not waste our time and tax dollars by calling a special session.

The number to Gov. Greg Abbott's office is 512-463-2000   

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and House Speaker Joe Straus, right, from dueling press conferences they each held on May 26, 2017.
Patrick of course, flanked by Senate Republican oppressors, called a one man press conference ian hour later n response to the middle finger one that Straus had just conducted, and basically blamed Straus for the special session should it happen that he doesn't have the authority to call

And yeah, if it does happen, me, my trans fam and our allies will be headed to Austin for it, and once that 30 day special session is over, will begin working to #FlushDanPatrick and #FlushTheTexas GOP on November 6, 2018

Friday, May 26, 2017

BTWI Statement Concerning The Faulkner Murder

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 26, 2017
Contact  Monica Roberts BTWI Media Chair
Carmarion D. Anderson  BTWI Founding National Director
855-255-8636 Ext 11
media@blacktranswomen.org


It is with a heavy heart that we at Black Transwomen, Inc must release a statement concerning the murder of another Black trans woman

Sherrell Faulkner was attacked and found suffering from trauma near a dumpster on November 30, 2016 in the gay friendly Plaza-Midwood neighborhood in northeast Charlotte, NC.   She succumbed to her injuries on May 16.

The attack we must point took place after a contentious North Carolina gubernatorial election in which transphobia was served up by the North Carolina Republican Party and its incumbent governor Pat McCrory that he subsequently lost.

The 46 year old Faulkner is now the 11th trans woman in the US we have lost to anti-trans violence.  All eleven of them have been women of color, with now ten of them being African American.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg PD is classifying this case as a homicide investigation, and if you have any information that will lead to the arrest, conviction and incarceration of the perpetrators of this crime against our fallen sister you are urged to call Charlotte Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or 704-432-TIPS (8477)

Dee Dee Watters will be doing a moment of silence for Sherrell starting at 9 PM CDT

Rest in power and peace, Sherrell.  We will say your name because your life mattered, and we won't rest until the people who took you from us are brought to justice.

Shut Up Fool Awards- Memorial Day 2017 Weekend Edition

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We are rapidly heading toward the halfway point of 2017 and this has already been a trying year for many of us, especially in Texas.

Memorial Day is Monday, and in addition to serving as a day in which we remember all the people who died while serving in the US armed forces,  the long weekend off for this federal holiday serves as the unofficial kickoff to the summer season.

So let's get right to our Friday Shut Up Fool Awards business and announce who this week's fool is.

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It's a group award for the Texas Republican Party.  Instead of spending our valuable legislative time on passing a state budget and fixing our problem filled foster care system. the Texas GOP House and Senate majority have wasted far too much of it on attack the Texas TBLGQ community

With the sine die day fast approaching, the Texas GOP oppressors on Discrimination Sunday ramrodded two discriminatory bills through on party line votes as Texas trans kids and their parents watched from the gallery, and Sen Lois Kolkhorst tried to attach her killed SV 6 trans hate bill to another piece of  unrelated legislation

But according to y'all, it's not about discriminating against the Texas LGBTQ community and Texas transgender people.   Sell them woof tickets and lies to your base.   We ain't buying that transphobic and homophobic nonsense.

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You're also the reason why we haven't had nice things in the Lone Star State since this woman left the governor's mansion in 1994.

And yeah, #Y'allMeansAll, and  we TBLGQ Texans vote.   See y'all at the polls on November 6, 2018.    

And oh yeah, Texas GOP, Shut up fools!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

40th Anniversary of the Original 'Star Wars' Film Debut

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40 years ago in a galaxy called the Milky Way on a planet named Earth, a film debuted on this date that has become a iconic classic, sparked a revival in the science fiction genre and spawned a media empire that is now owned by Disney.

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On May 25, 1977, Star Wars debuted to the delight of science fiction nerds like myself.  We flocked to our local multiplex theaters in droves to see the space saga and fictional galaxy in which good as repped by the Rebellion and a Luke Skywalker trained in The Force triumphed in this movie over the evil Galactic Empire run by Emperor Palpatine and his Sith apprentice and enforcer Darth Vader.

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It is a saga that has now spawned seven films with the eighth in the series, The Last Jedi to debut in December 2017

As the original film became a trilogy and spawned a 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes Back, it was renamed in 1981 Star Wars Episode IV- A New Hope

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>The inaugural Star Wars movie raked in over $450 million in the US alone and another $775 million worldwide and has significantly impacted pop culture and even politics as Reagan's embrace of the term 'evil empire' to describe the then Soviet Union aptly is an example of.

In 1989, Star Wars was selected along with The Empire Strikes Back in 2010 by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the US National Film Registry for culturally dded to its

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Star Wars also borrows from politics and history.  The Galactic Empire's stormtroopers share the name from the Nazi stormtroopers.   The Empire's black political officer, commander and guards uniforms are modeled on the Waffen SS, and the Imperial fleet uniforms borrow elements from the World War II era German Wehrmacht.

Image result for Star Wars 4 emperor palpatinePalpatine's rise to power is is similar to how Hitler came to power in 1930's Germany.   Palapine was first elected chancellor of the Galactic Republic before seizing power to become dictator and declaring himself emperor. then subsequently having the Jedi Order exterminated. .

May the Force be with you on this 40th anniversary date of the debut of a movie that became part of our lives   May be time for me to check out my DVD copy of it again in honor of today's anniversary

Black Trans History- Jackie Shane

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'I never realized that I'd mean something to people all these years later'
-Jackie Shane  


I've talked about in these TransGriot electronic pages about trans masculine gospel singer Wilmer Broadnax, who was a major star from the 40's to the 70's.

Now it turns out that we are now getting another piece of our Black trans history revealed in the person of R&B singer Jackie Shane.

She was born in Nashville on May 15, 1940.  While Nashville is world renowned for its country music scene, it also had a thriving blues and R&B music scene centered on the clubs on Jefferson St.

Shane was surrounded by music from an early age, and according to the 2010 CBC Elaine Banks  radio documentary I Got Mine; The Story Of Jackie Shane, as a teen she stayed with Marion James, Nashville's legendary Queen of the Blues.

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She moved to Montreal in 1960, and a chance 1962 encounter with the Washington DC based band Frank Motley and the Motley Crew, known as Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers north of the border led to her becoming the lead singer for the group, relocating to Toronto with them in 1961 and as their lead singer subsequently taking Toronto's music scene by storm.  

Shane and the band would occasionally head south for US gigs in Boston, Nashville and Los Angeles, but it was Toronto where they were making their money.  Toronto's music scene was centered on Yonge Street, and they were tapping into the hunger Canadian audiences had for R&B and soul music.

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Shane's first single was a cover of the Frank Barrett Motown classic song Money, but it was the song she released later in 1962 entitled Any Other Way, that hit number two on the then influential CHUM radio music chart that led to her taking the Toronto based music scene by storm .

In addition to performing at Toronto's Sapphire Club , there was this 1965 performance on Nashville's WLAC-TV's Night Train show



As the 60's inexorably moved into the 70's the bookings dried up and Shane left Toronto in 1971 returned to the States and lost touch with her bandmates.   She turned down an offer from George Clinton to become part of Funkadelic and began caring for an aunt in Los Angeles.   She returned to Nashville around 1996 after the death of her mother as people wondered what happened to her.  

Rumors abounded that she had been violently murdered in LA or committed suicide until she was found by saxophonist Steve Kennedy living in Nashville in 2005.

Thanks to that 2010 CBC radio documentary, there has been renewed interest in Jackie Shane's career and life, and she's still alive and kicking in Nashville at age 77.

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And yes, Jackie, your life means plenty to all of us trans peeps all these years later as a Black trans woman living her life. doing what she loved and being unapologetic about it.      

It also means that another piece of our Black trans history has been uncovered for us to enjoy and appreciate.

President Obama and Chancellor Merkel Speak At Kirchentag

Deutschland 36. Evangelischer Kirchentag in Berlin - Barack Obama und Angela Merkel (picture-alliance/AP Photo/G. Breloer)
President Obama journeyed to Berlin at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of the free world, for the Kirchentag, the German Protestant Church Congress.

This one was taking place not only during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, but with a looming German federal election in September that you know the Russians are just itching to mess with.

The invitation to speak came last year, so it's a coincidence that the former POTUS is here in Europe as the same time as 45 is on his problematic first international trip in which he's Making America Look Bad Again..

And President Obama is still very popular in Germany.   He visited Germany six times, with the initial trip happening during his 2008 campaign in which 200,000 Germans gathered to hear him speak in front of Berlin's Siegessaule (Victory Column).

Here's the video from today's event with Chancellor Merkel





Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Texas Trans Kids, The Fight Ain't Over

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At this point we all know what happened on May 21, 2017  in what will forever known in Texas history as Discrimination Sunday.  

The Texas House and Senate Republican majorities rammed through the unjust SB 2078 and  HB 3859 to satisfy their oppressor genes and to satisfy their right wing pastors and base.

As the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr stated, "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."

Yes, this was a loss, but it was only one battle in the long road we are traveling towards trans liberation and ultimate victory in World War T.   The world is increasingly coming to the realization that trans rights are international human rights, but as usual, the conservative movement is on the wrong side of history.

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Texas trans kids, know that this fight isn't over.   I, your parents, your trans elders, our allies and all who love you will continue to fight to ensure that you have better quality lives than we did growing up,  I have the infinite hope that we will in my remaining lifetime on this space rock emerge victorious and see Texas stop attacking your humanity and instead embrace it as we do.

I have the infinite hope this will happen because I see the determination in your and your parents eyes to make this a reality, and it inspires me to keep fighting.
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Texas is your state, too.  It, the state seal, the Texas flag and our state capitol building in Austin are not the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Texas Republican Party.   This diverse multicultural state will be blue again, and once that happens we will once again see common sense legislation coming from under the Pink Dome.

But we have a lot of work to do to get it to that point, and Discrimination Sunday made it clear what we must do starting today and in every election cycle at all levels of government in our state from now on is #FireTheTexasGOP.

If it takes some of us running for office to flush transphobia from Texas government, then that what's going to and must happen.


They messed with you, Texas trans kids.  It's time for them to pay a political price for that, the same one that Debbie Riddle and Gilbert Pena did for sponsoring anti-trans legislation in the 2015 session.

They thought that attacking you would help them in their Texas GOP reelection campaigns, but both of them found themselves when this 85th Texas legislative session started in January out of office

Know beyond a shadow of a doubt Texas trans kids, you are loved, you are worth fighting for, and we will not rest until the Lone Star State realizes that the humanity and human rights of trans people are not a political wedge issue.

Number 11- Rest In Power And Peace, Sherrell Faulkner

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One of the things I was deeply concerned about when the North Carolina GOP started messing with trans people and passed the unjust HB 2 law was that the ramped up anti-trans rhetoric the North Carolina GOP used to satisfy their trans oppressor gene would result in trans folks in the Tarheel State being targeted for violence or worse.

I feared that the folks who would feel the brunt of the ramped up anti-trans violence would be the North Carolina trans communities of color because anti-trans hate thoughts + anti-trans hate speech = anti-trans violence/ murders.  

Well, that fear became a reality on November 30, 2016 for 46 year old Sherrell Faulkner.  

She was found near a dumpster in Charlotte's gay friendly Plaza-Midwood neighborhood at The Plaza and 35th Street suffering from trauma and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center for treatment.

She died on May 16 from the injuries sustained in the attack, and became the 11th person in 2017 and 10th African-American trans woman to die this year because of anti-trans violence.  

And in a far too common and infuriating media pattern, another Black trans murder victim has been misgendered once again.  This time the guilty party is WCNC-TV.

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Faulkner's death is also on the hands of the North Carolina Republican Party and former Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who with their loud and wrong anti-trans rhetoric incited the violence that led to the attack on Faulkner in the first place.

Her family has been notified of her death, and no word as of yet from my North Carolina trans family and media peeps if there is a memorial service planned for her.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are now investigating this case as a homicide.

If you have information that will lead to the capture, conviction and incarceration of the person of persons who killed Sherrell, please call Charlotte Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or 704-432-TIPS (8477)

And as always, will be keeping track of this case until justice is served.

Rest in power and peace Sherrell.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mike Floyd's PISD Board Trustee Inauguration Today

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18 year old Mike Floyd is having the Senior Week to beat all Senior Weeks.  

While his fellow Glenda Dawson High School classmates are looking forward to Senior Week activities and heading to NRG Stadium for their looming graduation on Friday, the UH bound Floyd will be getting inaugurated as the newest and youngest member of the Pearland ISD school board later today.

The 18 year old Floyd pulled off the upset by knocking off two time PISD school board incumbent Rusty DeBorde, who had the endorsement of US 22nd District Congressman Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land ).   DeBorde also committed an unforced error during the campaign by sharing an Islamophobic article on his Facebook page from former Pearland City Councilmember Kevin Cole that caused a major online backlash in the Pearland area on the eve of the election.

Mike Floyd, an 18-year-old senior at Dawson High School, speaks to a potential voter about his run for the Pearland Independent School District's Board of Trustees, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Silverlake Park.
Even though the Islamophobic post didn't name her, it was obviously aimed at Pearland City Council candidate Dalia Kasseb, who is the first ever Muslim candidate in Brazoria County history and is currently in a runoff for a city council seat against Woody Owens.

Floyd ran in large part because he was angered by the shameful treatment of trans kid and Pearland ISD student Kai Shappley and the transphobic remarks of Pearland ISD superintendent Dr. James Kelly.  

And yes, in case you were wondering, Dr. Kelly was in Austin to testify in favor of the unjust SB 6 and disgustingly said last year in opposition to the DOE/DOJ letter that support for transgender students was akin to supporting pedophilia and polygamy

Helped out by the incumbent's unforced error and DeBorde's election eve non-apology, Floyd cruised to victory on May 6 by earning 3075 votes (54% of the votes)  to DeBorde's 2597 votes (46% of the votes) to become the youngest person elected to a school board in Texas history

Floyd wasn't your average 18 year old either.   He has been involved in politics for most of his young life before he ran for the PISD board, so he earned this win.

And Kimberly Shappley is ecstatic that he did.  She is grateful for PISD board trustee-Elect Floyd's support of hers and other transgender PISD kids.   She stated in a recent Houston Chronicle interview that his win is a sign that attitudes in Pearland are changing as this community becomes more ethnically and culturally diverse

"Across the board, people are fed up.  They are not going to allow this narrow mindset,"said Shappley.

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It also isn't hurting that Pearland area millennials are speaking up and in Mike Floyd's case, successfully running for office.

The result of the winds of change blowing through Pearland is the historic event that will take place at 5 PM later today as Mike Floyd is sworn in as a PISD board trustee.

It may also be a sign that supporting trans people is an enhancement, not a detriment to your electoral chances in the Lone Star State.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Texas GOP Messes With Texas Trans Kids

During a debate on the "bathroom bill," state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, holds up a photo of a sign that reads, "RESTROOMS WHITE COLORED," on May 21, 2017.
Pissed off because their big unjust anti-trans discriminatory bills in SB 6 and HB 2899 were bottled up and died in committee,  the Texas GOP majority on Sunday, facing a looming threat of a special session, decided to switch tactics and attack Texas trans kids.

The Texas GOP House decided to attach an anti-trans amendment to SB 2078, which was supposed to be focused on Texas school districts 'multihazard emergency operations plans' and by a 91-50 party line vote amended it to require transgender students to use a single stall restroom, locker room, and changing facility at their school if they didn't want to use one based on their birth gender.

The amended bill then passed a 92-49 second reading vote as trans kids and their parents observed the unjust proceedings from the House gallery.

The Texas Democrats put up a fight, with Rep Senfronia Thomson (D-Houston) pointing out along with other Dems during a tense House floor debate that this was nothing more than a replay of Jim Crow era segregation as the Republicans tried to pathetically claim it wasn't meant to target transgender students.

“White. Colored. I was living through that era ... bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now,” said Rep. Thompson, the dean of the TX House, to her colleagues. “America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all.”

Equality Texas CEO Chuck Smith said this in a statement concerning SB 2078 and another unjust bill in HB 3859:

“Tonight, the state of Texas voted to advance two bills that discriminate against LGBTQ Texans. SB 2078 allows for continued discrimination against transgender students with regard to restroom facilities and HB 3859 allows faith based child welfare providers to use taxpayer money to refuse to serve LBGTQ people. No amount of discrimination is acceptable. There is no middle ground. All discrimination is bad, full stop. Targeting some of the most vulnerable children in our state is abhorrent, shameful, and disgraceful. The Texas lawmakers of the 85th legislative session are on the wrong side of history. No matter how upset or scared our LGBTQ friends and families are feeling this evening, Equality Texas wants you to know that we stand with you; and we will fight to protect you.”

The unjust SB 2078 It still faces a third reading vote later today before it heads back to the Texas Senate for its approval before it goes to Governor Abbott's desk