Lawyers, celebrities rally to support LGBTQ rights at the Texas Capitol

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of people are expected to attend a rally Monday afternoon at the Texas Capitol where they push for bills protecting the LGBTQ community and criticize dozens of proposed restrictions now under consideration.

The event, which begins at 12:00 on the south steps of the Statehouse, is advertised as “All in for Equality Advocacy Day”. Organizers include Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, ACLU of Texas, Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign.

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According to a press release, some of the speakers will include Jonathan Van Ness, the star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” as well as Cynthia Lee Fontaine, an Austin-based drag entertainer who competed in “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Since the Texas legislative session began in January, Equality Texas has kept a running count of “good bills” it says would provide greater protections for LGBTQ Texans, as well as “bad bills” that advocates say would negatively impact community. The organization’s tally now stands at 142 “good” bills and 140 “bad” bills.

This event comes a week after LGBTQ advocates gathered outside the Capitol to draw attention to a pair of Senate bills they said would be particularly harmful to transgender Texans. One proposal would ban doctors from providing “gender transitioning, gender reassignment procedures and treatments” for children under the age of 18. The bill says such treatment includes drugs that inhibit puberty, hormone therapy and surgery.

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Supporters of this bill argue that this bill is meant to protect children. However, parents with transgender children are concerned about losing access to health care options in the state.

So far in the session, Equality Texas has used its social media accounts to call attention to upcoming legislative committee hearings in which lawmakers are debating specific bills and sharing ways LGBTQ people and their allies can make people feel their voice in the process, such as how they testify at these meetings.

This is a developing story, so KXAN will update this story with more information once Monday afternoon’s rally concludes.

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