This month, we recognize the courage and strength of the LGBTQIA+ community and celebrate the generations of people who have fought to live openly and authentically since the Stonewall Uprising, which began on this day in 1969. Pride Month is an essential celebration of solidarity and a reminder to fight for much-needed protections and rights for marginalized communities to enjoy the full promise of equity, dignity, protection, and freedom.
In Harris County, we stand with the LGBTQIA+ community and support the fight for equal rights and protections. To ensure that LGBTQIA+ voices are represented in county government, this month, Commissioners Court approved the creation of the county's first LGBTQIA+ Commission, which will provide recommendations to improve economic, social, health, and safety outcomes for the LGBTQIA+ community. This community cannot be silenced, and we are proud to take this important step to ensure equity and inclusion for all Harris County residents.
But we can’t talk about Pride without addressing the escalating attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community in Texas and around the country.
Today, the LGBTQIA+ community faces perhaps its greatest threat in the 54 years since Stonewall. Leadership in Austin is leading the national effort to roll back LGBTQIA+ rights. This past legislative session, instead of passing bills that would address societal barriers to equality for trans people, housing needs for LGBTQIA+ seniors, and the mental health needs of LGBTQIA+ children, the Texas passed laws that prevent doctors from providing life-saving medical care to transgender youth, limit the personal health decisions of LGBTQIA+ adults, bar transgender athletes’ participation in sports, and endanger trans and gender-nonconforming performers.
These laws are cruel. And the rhetoric used to pass them is dehumanizing. They threaten the health, safety, and well-being of vulnerable children. They erode the hard-fought rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. They deny trans and gender-nonconforming people equal participation in society and open the door to more sex-based discrimination. And they bring radical speech to the forefront and foster violence against trans and queer people.
Trans rights are human rights. Healthcare is a right. And it is now more important than ever to speak up and show our support, especially for the trans youth and their families most affected by these dangerous and discriminatory laws. Everyone deserves to live openly and authentically without discrimination, harassment, or violence — even attacks from our elected officials. Though these battles may seem unending, there is always hope. Just last week, a gender-affirming care ban was struck down in Arkansas.
The first Pride was a protest demanding fair treatment and civil rights. We must remember our history, and continue the fight for equality.
If you or someone you know needs support, many organizations within Harris County and across the country provide direct assistance and crisis support for the LGBTQIA+ community:
- Legacy Community Health Services: A health center that provides low- or no-cost health and community support services centered on the LGBTQIA+ community.
- The Montrose Center: A health and community support center providing mental health and social services to the LGBTQIA+ community
- LGBT Switchboard Houston: A 24-hour helpline providing information, nonjudgmental support, crisis information intervention, and referral services for Houston's LGBT community.
- Hatch Youth: A nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering LGBTQIA+ youth between the ages of 7 and 20, providing education services, community support, and housing assistance for LGBTQIA+ youth.
- Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT - Latina Trans in Texas): An organization dedicated to supporting all trans, gender-nonconforming, and LGBTQIA+ people in Texas, providing direct assistance and community support.
- The Trevor Project: An organization providing information, support, and 24-hour crisis counseling to LGBTQIA+ young people.
Call 866-488-7386 or Text ‘START’ to 678-678
- Trans Lifeline: A non-profit organization run by and for trans people offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis.