First, let me thank you for all of the amazing work that you have been doing. Because of you, this session has seen an unprecedented number of pro-LGBT legislation being filed in the Texas legislature.
I believe, wholeheartedly, that this is all happening because of the amazing time and effort that we have all put into the fight for equality together. Whether you are transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, or an ally to the community, you have let your voice be heard so loudly that they could not help but listen.
There are now only 41 days left in this legislative session and the next session isn't until 2015. This means, we have 41 days to make history again.
Here are the facts:
- An estimated 431,000 members of the Texas workforce identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
- 26% of transgender Texans report being fired solely based on their gender identity.
- 12% of lesbian and gay Texans report being fired because of their sexual orientation.
- 37% of gay and lesbian Texans report being harassed at work due to their sexual orientation.
For members of the LGBT community, these statistics are more than just numbers, these statistics represent our lives. They are the very reason that many of us spend our work experience hidden in closets, changing pronouns in conversation, and generally looking over our shoulder hoping that nobody finds out our secrets lest our secret drive us to joblessness in a time when jobs are scarce. This is why we need your help to secure job protections.
Earlier this session, Sen. Leticia Van De Putte of San Antonio filed SB 237 entitled "The Fair Employment Act". This bill would make it against the law to fire, refuse to hire, refuse to promote, or otherwise discriminate against someone solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
This bill is currently held up in the Committee on Economic Development with only 2 (of the required 4) guaranteed votes. Those voting "yes" on this bill are both co-authors, Sen. Wendy Davis and Sen. Kirk Watson.
You can help ensure that this bill passes by signing the petition urging the remaining 5 senators to co-author and vote for the bill. That petition can be found at http://getequaltx.org/2013/04/we-need-lgbt-workplace-protection/. Also, ensure that you share this petition with all of your friends so that they can sign it!
You will also find the phone numbers for those senators. Once you sign the petition (which is emailed directly to them upon submit) feel free to call each of them, every day if you wish, to remind them of the need for this bill. Each call averages 2 minutes.
If the committee continues to stall we will be forced to engage in direct, non-violent civil disobedient, action. Plans for these high profile and high risk action are already in the works and we do need some monetary help for supplies and possibly bail. Please consider a donation to help offset these costs at http://getequaltx.org/donate/
Thank you so much for your continued dedication to the push for equality!
GetOUT! GetACTIVE! GetEQUAL!
Founded in 2010, GetEQUAL is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information go to www.getequal.org. You can also follow GetEQUAL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/getequal or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/getequal.