LGBTQ community prepares for 86th legislative session

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jan 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 15:39:34-05

As the 86th Texas Legislative session began on Jan. 8, there is once again proposed bills pertaining to the LGBTQ community. 

This year aimed at anti-discrimination, InterWaco and Equality Texas met for the fifth time as they expressed to LQBTQ Central Texans that sharing personal stories to Texas Representatives can go a long way. 

It is legal for any business to refuse service to LGBTQ individuals in the state of Texas. HB 244 and others hope to change that. 

"It's still raw to us." Irene Andrews said after telling her story about the time a hospital denied her access to see her grandson. 

Andrews' grandson was born prematurely and in critical condition. When her and her now wife Joan Hinshaw arrived they would only allow Hinshaw into the room. 

"They would let me into see him but they refused to let Irene go in too, because she's not, grandmother by marriage or by blood." Hinshaw said. 

This was 18 years ago when same-sex marriage wasn't yet legal but the two had been together for almost 20 years at the time. 

Andrews then sat in the waiting room, mad at herself that she told the truth. She could have easily been an aunt or cousin. 

"I should of just lied and then I said listen to yourself," Andrews said. "Why would you let society force you to become a liar so that you can show love to this child who might not make it through the night." 

After many arguments their son, and new father Barry, came down and pushed for Andrews to be present in the room with them. 

Sharing stories like this one is what helps bring emotion to get these bills passed. According to InterWaco. 

They spent time with other Central Texans on Jan. 13 helping them open up about the times they were discriminated against and how they can contact their Texas Representatives to share those same stories. 

"We don't realize how important our personal stories are," Carmen Saenz from InterWaco said. "But I think our representatives need to know how those bills will impact the LGBT community." 

Even starting at a local level, according to Andrews, if you fight hard enough change can happen. 

"The particular hospital that we went to has since really worked to put in some important policies." Andrews said.  

For more information on Equality Texas visit their website

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