Trans Day of Visibility

31 Mar, 24

Dear Friends,

Today is Trans Day of Visibility. It’s a day to recognize and celebrate the transgender community and affirm that trans rights are human rights. But it’s also a day to acknowledge the challenges trans people face and encourage allies to take action.

Trans lives are not up for debate, and we won't sit idly by while Texas politicians attack their freedoms. During the 2023 Texas Legislative session, 140 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were filed, nearly double that of the session two years prior. While most of these bills were defeated, SB 14, which prohibits gender-affirming medical care for minors, has had a devastating effect on families with trans children in the state. Many families have had to pack up their entire lives to find a place where they feel safe or travel at great cost to access the health care they need. This decision does not just affect the quality of life for trans kids but can also put lives at risk.

Texas has also passed SB 17, which prohibits public institutions of higher education from engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion activities, including training and promoting policies that protect everyone on their campuses. More visibility can, unfortunately, also make the trans community more of a target, and erasing the offices meant to educate, protect, and advocate for equity and inclusion on campuses puts students at increased risk.

These attacks mirror other attempts to control and undermine parental rights and our fundamental freedoms. They’re banning books, stripping away our voting rights, and taking over our school districts.  The state has taken away the right to an abortion and limited access to gender-affirming care. Denying a person autonomy over their health, future, and well-being is a dehumanizing, egregious violation of their fundamental human rights.

We are not done fighting. In response to the attacks on the state level, Harris County formed an LGBTQIA+ Commission to improve the health and safety of this community. And earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court heard its first argument against SB 14. While they have not handed down a decision, I know that regardless of what happens, Texans will continue to challenge these attacks on our freedoms.

All trans and gender-diverse people have a right to lead safe, healthy lives and to be treated with dignity. And here in Harris County, we will continue to uphold and advance the rights of trans people and all our LGBTQIA+ friends, neighbors, and family members. Together, we must keep up the fight against hate and discrimination wherever it may be found and work toward a more just and equitable world for all.

In solidarity,

Rodney Ellis