Thursday, March 19, 2015

Moni's Excellent Austin Lobbying Adventure

Spent yesterday doing a quick trip to Austin to strike a blow along with a group of students and allies to let key legislators know we exist, are proud Texans, and aren't standing for the anti-trans discrimination and trans bounty bills that Debbie (Riddle) Does Discrimination and Gilbert Pena want to import into the Lone Star State.

It was also the first time I'd been to the state capitol to lobby since I'd returned back home in May 2010, and the first time I'd done so in Texas since 2001

I found myself in a car with Nikki Araguz Loyd, her hubby Will, and the lovely Meagan Gillett roaring westbound on US 290 headed toward our 12 noon rendezvous at Equality Texas HQ.

After a couple of potty stops and a few moments circling to wait for the Capitol Visitors Garage to open up some parking spaces because SXSW was also going on in the ATX, we finally arrived at the third floor offices of Equality Texas just in time for Cavan O Raghallaigh's briefing.

We had a group of students, Lou Weaver, Dee Dee Watters, TS Williams along for this foray under the Pink Dome that included Mel Gonzales, the first ever trans homecoming king in Texas.

I even got the pleasure of seeing Nikki Vogel again and Dr. Paige Schilt

After a group visit to Rep Alma Allen (D-Houston) office, we split up into four groups to handle all our scheduled visits.   Cavan and I along with Claire Bow and her spouse Carol hit the offices of  Rep Myra Crownover (R- Denton)to talk to her LA.  After that pleasant visit was completed, we headed to the Capitol Grille for a few moments to meet with a reporter, then proceeded to a 3 PM appointment with my state rep Jessica Farrar. (D-Houston) as we once again broke it down why we wanted HB 2081, 2082, 1747  and 1748 to die

Meanwhile as I was handling my business, Nikki Araguz Loyd was headed to the belly of the GOP transphobic beast and visiting Rep Gilbert Pena's (R-Pasadena) office, who sponsored two of the trans hate bill, and Rep Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) office.    

The LA in Rep Riddle's office kept trying to blame Mayor Annise Parker and the passage of HERO for these bills, which wasn't flying with Nikki.   It also seems that the national publicity and derision she's getting for it is also having an effect, so keep those calls, memes and jokes aimed at her office coming.  

May also wish to do the same to Rep Gilbert Pena too, since his bills were only filed on march 10, and he has yet to get the full effect of state and national negativity coming down upon him like Riddle has.

After leaving Rep. Farrar's office,  the rest of my team members had to leave, so it was Cavan and I who got to visit Rep Joe Deshotel's  (D-Port Arthur) chief of staff and lay out why those anti-trans hate bills needed to die..

After reuniting with some of our team members and making a quick visit to Sen. Kirk Watson's (D) office to help Cavan make good on a promise he'd made, we headed back to the Equality Texas headquarters for a debriefing and to pick up thank you cards before departing back to Houston.

Was a wonderful day to do so, and I have a feeling I'll be back up there again before this session is over.

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