LGBTQ activists host Equality Day rally at state capitol

Posted at 11:26 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 00:26:21-04

AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of Texans rallied at the State Capitol on Monday against more than 100 bills introduced this year they say attack the LGBT community.

"We are under attack," supporter Ray Athea said. "It's hurtful, it really sucks, but when we come out to events like these it gives me hope and I want to give other people hope and pass that forward."

The group says of the more than 100 anti-LGBT bills were introduced this year many are aimed limited healthcare for transgender people.

"SB 1029 is essentially criminalizing and making when doctors give us the healthcare we need, they might be sued for malpractice," Athea said. "That's really scary. It's also going to be taking away access for healthcare for those services that keep us alive."

"Healthcare should never be a question," Olivia Taylor with the Human Rights Campaign in Dallas told 25 News. "If there is gender-affirming healthcare that we know statistically going to make a child more physically stable, more mentally secure and ultimately save their lives, that kind of stuff drives me insane."

Supporters say anti-trans bills will mostly impact children, like Quinn Arguello. She is a 12-year-old transgender girl from Cedar Park who attended the rally with her parents.

"Every day that she walks out the door for school, we don't know what's going to happen," her mother Helen said. "She's alive today because we affirm her at home and the state needs to affirm her as well. These right that are being taken are human rights and she needs to be here."

"We saw her go from sadness to a smile that went from ear to ear instantly," her dad Roger said. "Literally from the moment we said 'let's do this, you're on'. It completely switched and has been a positive direction ever since then."

Her parents said her transition changed her life for the better and it frustrates them to see the number of anti-trans bills being introduced.

"To see that happiness in her eyes and in her life and the way she lives, it just blows our mind that anyone can think anything otherwise," Roger said.

Several members of the LGBT House Caucus spoke at Monday's rally, promising to fight for the community and equality for children just like Quinn.

"It's going to be a challenging session but you have folks like us who are up here who are going to fight for you and everyone in Texas," Rep. Jessica Gonzalez told the crowd. "We have to show them that we're not going to be shoved back in the closet, striped of our dignity and we deserve to be treated the exact same way as every other Texan."

"You have a friend and supporter in me," Rep. Jolanda Jones said. "I am a part of the family and I will vote to protect us all."