Texas lacking in equality rights for the LGBTQIA-Plus community

Posted at 10:47 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 23:53:32-05

Texas ranks among the bottom when it comes to laws and policies that protect the LGBTQIA-Plus community, according to a recent equality report released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute.

The groups said the Lone Star State falls into the ranking's lowest category, along with 27 other states, because it doesn't guarantee basic equality rights and protections for the LGBTQIA-Plus community.

It's a ranking many in the community want to see changed.

"We don't want special rights, we just want equal rights that's all," said Saint Paul United Church of Christ Senior Pastor Dana Worsham. "It's simple."

The index ranked all 50 states as "Working Toward Innovative Equality," which is the best, "Solidifying Equality," "Building Equality," and "High Priority to Achieve Equality," which was the worst.

"Unfortunately in Texas you can be fired for being gay, for being lesbian, for being transgendered," said Texas House of Representatives District 32 Candidate Eric Holguin.

Which is technically legal. It's also legal to deny those who identify as LGBTQIA-Plus services and entry into establishments.

A"In terms of at the state level, unfortunately there are not a lot of protections for the LGBTQIA-Plus community given the political atmosphere in the state," Holguin said.

There is a protection hoping to be considered called Gender-Expression-Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA. It would protect the LGBTQIA-Plus community from basic discriminations, including the workplace, housing, credit, and banking, making them a protected class similar to the disabled, women and veterans.

"I always say, there are different levels," Holguin said. "If you can't get something done at the federal level then you go to the state level. If you can't get something done at the state level, then you go to the county level. If you can't get something done on the county level -- if the county isn't working, our last line of defense is the city level."

For more information on services and groups available in the area, you can contact the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation on Holly Road and Pride Center Coordinator Angie Baker at (361) 814-2001.