Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 5 Texas Trans Moments of 2015

One of the things that irritates me about Top Five or Top Ten lists for trans issues is that far too often, they ignore stuff that doesn't happen on I-5, I-95 or inside I-495.  FYI to the rest of the country, liberal progressive people do exist here inside the borders of the Lone Star State and some of the 35 million people who live here inside my bigger than France state are trans people.

I need to remind you once again that Texas, and especially Houston based trans activists have helped spur much of the progress of the modern trans rights movement, and far too often we get ignored for doing so.

So in order to address that bi- coastal and inside the beltway imbalance, I'm going to do a 2015 Top 5 trans moments list with a Texas twang to it.

1.  All four anti-trans bathroom bills die in the Texas Legislature.

As part as a major attack on the human rights of Texas TBLG people, the hatemongers in the GOP controlled Texas Legislature rolled out a slate of 20 unjust bills.   Four of those bills (HB 1748, 1749, 2801 and 2802 targeted the Texas trans community.

These bathroom bills sought to not only criminalize being trans for adult trans Texans, but attack our trans kids matriculating in Texas schools.  

HB 1748 and HB 1749 were filed by suburban Houston Republicans Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball and would have made it a misdemeanor crime punishable by fines and jail time for Moni and every trans Texan to poop and pee in public restrooms. HB 2080 and 2082, filed by Rep. Gilbert Pena of Pasadena, targeted Texas trans kids.  It incentivized snitching on and bullying trans kids for using the potty for cash.

We were given little to no chance by outside of Texas groups to kill any of that negative legislation, but that's exactly what happened.   Trans Texans in conjunction with our allies got mad, rolled up our sleeves, and showed up in Austin for three lobby days.   We talked to our legislators under the Pink Dome, lobbied and denounced the unjust bills and successfully got them killed.

But you can bet that when the 2017 session starts, we will once again need to be ready to roll to Austin to defend our human rights again.  

2.  HERO Repealed

You've seen a lot of posts on this blog about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and the fight in 2014 to pass it.  Passing the law was the easy part.  The hard part as we knew when we started this human rights battle was going to be being able to keep it in the City Code of Ordinances.

Due to a massive disinformation campaign, a devastatingly effective ad, Houston media not doing their job combined with a mistake ridden HERO defense campaign, the Forces of Intolerance led primarily by out of town anti-LGBT activists and the Texas GOP, the Forces of Intolerance won by a 61-39% margin.

And yeah, I had a lot to say about the failure of the Houston Unites campaign to defend the HERO against this debunked trans predator meme and recycled Jim Crow talking points.

3.  Dallas strengthens trans protections

As we were suffering a devastating human rights defeat on our end of I-45 and getting pilloried in the national media for it, on the northern end of it in Dallas they were strengthening their trans protections.

One week after the HERO repeal, the Texas Values haters, fresh off their victory in Houston, tried to replicate what they had done in Dallas.

They failed as the Dallas City Council by a unanimous vote clarified their trans human rights protections that had been on the books since 2002 and the Dallas media tore their spokeshaters to shreds.

This is one time I can't (cough, cough) hate on Dallas.

4. Nikki Araguz Loyd wins her trans marriage case

After a nearly six year battle to do so, Nikki Araguz Loyd finally prevailed in the Delgado v. Araguz  trans marriage legal fight that killed the odious 1999 Littleton v Prange trans marriage case.

It not only reinstated her marriage to the late Capt. Thomas Araguz III and gave her the recognition back as his widow, it set a positive precedent for trans marriage rights in the Lone Star State

And how apropos the final ruling in the case happened on November 20, and the transphobic judge Randy Clapp (R)  that ruled the wrong way back in 2010, was the one that had to sign the order reversing his incorrect one.

5. Texas loses two trans women.

Unfortunately two of the record 20 trans women murdered in 2015 were Lone Star State residents in 24 year old Ty Underwood and 20 year old  Shade Schuler.

24 year old Ty Underwood was killed in Tyler, Texas in January by her boyfriend Carlton Ray Champion, who was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison after bragging he'd be back on the streets on the day he was convicted.

shade schuler
The other trans woman we lost was in Dallas.   The decomposing body of 22 year old Shade Schuler was found on July 29 in a field near the Dallas medical district.

Unfortunately her killer has yet to be found and justice has yet to be served in this case, but it's hopeful that it will happen for her, her family and all who love her in 2016.

A reminder to the rest of the country.  We have some kick butt trans activists here in the Lone Star Sate who despite what y'all think on the coasts, are making stuff happen that benefits trans kind.

Going to be interesting to see what we accomplish in 2016.


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