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For the fourth time this year, Texas lawmakers will attempt to pass a bill barring transgender athletes from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
Each of the previous three times — during the regular legislative session and two special sessions during the summer — a transgender sports ban has passed the conservative Texas Senate only to fall short in the House of Representatives.
During the first special session, House Democrats, who had fled to Washington, D.C. in protest of more stringent voter restrictions, effectively denied the lower chamber a quorum, meaning no bills could be passed during the 30-day special session.
This third special session, called by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), will focus on five items, including the transgender sports ban, reports Texas News Today. The session will start on Monday, Sept. 20 and run for 30 days.
Equality Texas, the state’s top LGBTQ rights organization, noted that there have been more than 60 bills seeking to rescind, repeal, or weaken existing rights or protections for LGBTQ people introduced at various times throughout the year, making 2021 the most anti-LGBTQ year in Texas legislative history.
“Every time these politicians have renewed their push for anti-transgender legislation, I have thought about Leon, a 9-year-old trans boy whose family had to leave Texas because they felt unsafe, or Libby, who has been coming to the Capitol for five years to ask legislators to stop attacking her,” Ricardo Martinez, the CEO of Equality Texas, said in a statement.
“I think of all the trans kids and their loving families who attended rallies at the Capitol this year and who were tormented by anti-equality adults.
“I think about Aidelen Evans, Tiffany Thomas, Iris Santos, and Miss Coco Chanel Wortham — all transgender Texans who have tragically lost their lives to violence in 2021,” Martinez added.
“The unequivocal evidence that bills like SB2 and SB29 are causing harm and further stigmatizing our communities has been willingly ignored. Extremist politicians are saying no to even the simplest affirmation and recognition of our humanity — refusing to use the appropriate pronouns during hearings.
“They actively choose not to see us even though they know that choosing to see us could save lives. Prioritizing [legislation that harms] transgender youth once again on the call is a reprehensible decision.”
Martinez also noted that Equality Texas’s members, as well as other activists, have shown up to the State Capitol in Austin to protest various LGBTQ bills several different times, yet lawmakers in the Republican-led legislature appear to be obsessed with pushing through such bills.
“Our community has shown up to the Capitol time and time again to ask their elected officials for empathy, compassion and understanding,” he said. “Instead, we have been subjected to a level of cruelty that is beneath contempt. The relentless attacks on communities of color, historically accurate education, abortion rights, voting rights, and LGBTQ+ rights, infringe on the civil liberties of all Texans. When you attack one Texan, you attack all Texans. We will not back down.”
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