The passage of the Equality Act in the US House of Representatives last month highlighted the great need for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals across all sectors, including housing, employment, credit, education, public spaces and federally funded spaces.
Activists have fought for these protections for years, and the advancement of pieces of legislation like the Equality Act give hope that these protections will become federal law.
At the state level, several progressive legislators have filed bills that would expand LGBTQIA+ rights for Texans across the board. Here are ten of those legislators and their respective bills:
House Bill 1037 filed by Rep. Michelle Beckley
This bill would remove outdated and non-enforceable statutory language in the Texas Family Code that criminalizes LGBTQIA+ Texans and prohibits same sex marriage in order for Texas statute to reflect federal law.
House Bill 2679 filed by Rep. Mary González
This bill is an inclusive sex education bill that requires Texas public schools to discuss human sexuality as a normal and healthy part of human development, provide comprehensive information on birth control and disease prevention, provide affirming information on sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and discusses legal protections and resources regarding sexual harassment, assault and abuse.
House Bill 3860 filed by Rep. Jessica González
This bill would establish nondiscrimination protections for all Texans in places of public accomation based on race, disability, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.
House Bill 2753 filed by Rep. Terry Meza
This bill would prohibit health benefit plans offered by a public employer from paying for conversion therapy practices seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
House Bill 191 filed by Rep. Diego Bernal
This bill would expand the protections of the Texas Fair Housing Act to include the LGBTQIA+ community, which would prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
House Bill 907 filed by Rep. Julie Johnson
This bill prohibits prior authorization on medications for individuals with chronic illness and autoimmune disease, including HIV/AIDS medications. Individuals with these chronic illnesses often require life-long treatment and management and this bill would make it easier for individuals to access life-saving medications.
House Bill 493 filed by Rep. Gene Wu
This bill allows HIV screenings to be done as a part of routine blood work. Currently, a patient must opt in to having this test added, and HB 493 makes it so that a doctor will verbally, or in writing, inform a patient that this test will be conducted and allow them to opt out instead of being required to opt in. It also requires physicians to provide resources to health services after a positive diagnosis. Allowing physicians and their patients to have HIV testing done as a part of routine blood work allows for the most successful treatments to take place with an early diagnosis.
House Bill 726 filed by Rep. Ana Hernandez
This bill would prohibit doctors and surgeons from performing non-consensual sex assignment procedures and treatments on intersex minors. These procedures are medically unnecessary cosmetic surgeries most often performed at an age when an intersex individual is unable to comprehend or consent.
House Bill 2024 filed by Rep. Jon Rosenthal
This bill would establish a procedure for correcting names and gender markers on vital records/legal documents. Many members of the LGBTQIA+ community experience bigotry and discrimination in these situations of gender transition and this bill seeks to ease that and also help affirm gender identity.
House Bill 1402 filed by Rep. Ann Johnson
This bill would update the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes act to include crimes based on a victim's gender identity. Trans people, and especially trans women of color, face a disproportionate amounts of discrimination, hate and violence and this bill would add protections against that gender based violence and discrimination.
The work these progressive state legislators are leading is inspiring and optimistic. If passed, these bills would greatly improve the daily lives of LGBTQIA+ Texans across our state.
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