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LGBTQ+ Advocates Say Equality Remains 'Stubbornly Out Of Reach' In Texas

Photo by torbakhopper CC BY-ND 2.0: http://bit.ly/2TOHlfm

Sixty-four percent of Texans support laws protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

Yet a new report from Equality Texas details the many obstacles that still remain for nearly 1 million LGBTQ+ individuals living in Texas. What can policy do to change the future of equality in the state? 

As the 86th Texas Legislature deliberates, a number of bills that have been filed aim to protect LGBTQ+ Texans, including SB 1250filed by San Antonio-based State Senator José Menéndez, which focuses on nondiscrimination in employment.

At the same time, 14 religious exemption bills have been filed this session. Advocates are concerned that if passed, these bills and others could provide legal justification for discriminatory practices including allowing people and government agencies the ability to refuse medical care, employment benefits and other services because of a "sincerely held religious belief" or "moral conviction." 

What social, legal and safety issues do LGBTQ+ people experience in Texas? What’s being done on the state and local levels to address their concerns? 

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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.
David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi