By Alex Temblador
Texas isn’t usually in the news for doing something amazing for LGBT rights, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wonderful Texans working hard to change that, working hard to make a difference in the lives of LGBT people. In this year’s legislature, Texas lawmakers submitted 20 anti-LGBT proposals. Thankfully, all 20 proposals were defeated and with this momentum a new campaign stepped up, Texas Wins.
Texas Wins describes themselves as:
“a statewide coalition of Texans, including people of faith, business leaders, veterans and first responders, athletes and sports professionals, students, educators and school administrators and everyday Texans, who are committed to demonstrating true Texas values and protecting all Texans from discrimination.”
And currently, their focus is on protecting their neighbors, Texans who happen to be part of the LGBT community. Their current agenda is to “update the law, so that all people, including gay and transgender people, are protected from discrimination.” They will begin by educating people outside of Texas’ largest cities on how LGBT discrimination is legal and should be changed. The largest cities of Texas like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Austin, and Houston have outlawed LGBT discrimination, but it still exists in a majority of the state.
Spokesman Kevin Nix stated that, “So many people don’t even realize it’s legal to fire or evict gay and transgender people. A lot of folks think it’s protected in law, and it’s not. That problem would persist no matter what the marriage decision is from the Supreme Court.”
Texas Wins will begin a tour of 8-10 cities across the state and will inform citizens of these cities about LGBT housing and employment discrimination. Besides focusing on citizens, Texas Wins will also seek to convince businesses that the passage of anti-LGBT discrimination laws will help Texas cities economically, a movement that Texas Competes, a sister company, has already begun with 200 signatures from major companies and businesses in Texas who support LGBT inclusion.
They also are asking people and companies to take the pledge to end discrimination in Texas through an online pledge form. Even better, they provide moving stories from LGBT Texans on their site which can be read in the Voices of Texas section.
The people behind Texas Wins are hopeful that they can make a change for all LGBT people in Texas, even though they fear that the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality may inadvertently cause a slack in momentum in the LGBT movement across the country. Similarly, they will also be battling anti-LGBT organizations in Texas like Eagle Forum, Texas Values, and Texas Pastor Council.
Even though same-sex marriage may become legal in the next week or so, Texas Wins is correct in showing that the process toward equality for LGBT persons is far from over. We hope that with success of anti-discrimination laws, Texas Wins will move toward fighting for equality for LGBT persons in the areas of anti-bullying, hate crimes, adoption, school laws, and gender marker change. Furthermore, Texas Wins is a shining example for other states to follow and shows that hope for equality is never lost, even in our most conservative states.