Transgenders in Texas

Transgenders in Texas

How 126,000 Texans are being unrepresented by their state government
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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."

Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence


Kenne McFadden: 27-year-old transgender woman murdered in San Antonio, Texas on April 9th, 2017.


Monica Loera: transgender woman shot and killed in North Austin, Texas on January 22nd, 2016.


Shante Thompson: beaten and shot by a group of transphobic people in Houston, Texas on April 10th, 2016.


Erykah Tijerina: 36-year-old transgender latina killed by an Army soldier in her home on August 9th, 2016 in El Paso, Texas.


Nina Acox Jackson: transgender man found deceased by possible homicide on February 16th, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.


Veronica Banks Cano: transgender woman found deceased in a South Side Motel on February 19th, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.


These are the faces of the unjust inequality that is so prominent in Texas. Each of these individuals had the right to Life, the right to Liberty, and the right to Happiness. Those virtues were stripped from them by transphobic and hateful individuals. Every person should feel safe and happy to be themselves in any situation. Unfortunately, for many people in the LGBTQ community, that is not the reality.

In Texas, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are not represented by their state government at all. In fact, they are directly attacked by law-makers and employers. Interestingly enough, the "trans population of Texas is the second largest in the U.S." according to a survey published by Project Q Houston in June of 2016. This census also declares that 125,350 adults in Texas self-identify as being transgender.

(See the full article: http://www.projectq.us/houston/trans_population_in_texas_second_biggest_in_u.s)

On January 26th, 2017, The National Center for Transgender Equality released information from a survey that was conducted in 2015. Surveyors interviewed 1,490 Trans-Texans and made some startling discoveries about the general well-being of these individuals. Here are some of the final responses:

17% were unemployed. (>253 respondents)

34% were living at or below poverty level. (>506 respondents)

13% were verbally harassed in the workplace. (>193 respondents)

3% were sexually assaulted in the workplace. (>44 respondents)

9% were verbally, physically, or sexually assaulted on their college campus. (>134 respondents)

22% had been evicted due to their gender identity. (>327 respondents)

30% had experienced homelessness due to their gender identity. (>447 respondents)

9% had been denied access to a public restroom. (>134 respondents)

10% had been harassed in a public restroom. (149 respondents)

1% had been physically attacked in a public restroom. (>14 respondents)

1% had been sexually assaulted in a public restroom. (>14 respondents)

61% would avoid using a public restroom. (894 respondents)

(See the full survey: http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/USTS-Full-Report-FINAL.PDF)

These are such harrowing statistics. Looking at these numbers, it is difficult to imagine why any transgender person would stay in Texas and not move to a more progressive, safe space such as Oregon or California. For many trans-people, Texas is home. This is where they were born and where their family and friends reside. Now more than ever, it is important for everyone to stand together to defeat legislation proposed by Texas law-makers that would further dehumanize the LGBTQ community.

Some new anti-trans bills that are currently under legislation are HB 3859 and SB 2078. "HB 3859 allows faith-based child welfare providers to use taxpayer money to refuse service to LGBTQ people..." says Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas in a recently published interview, and "SB 2078 allows for continued discrimination against students with regard to restroom facilities".

Rebecca L. Robertson, Legal and Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas, in an interview for Equality Texas, states: "Since they gaveled the session open in January, Texas lawmakers have relentlessly pursued a cynical agenda that targets immigrants, women, and lesbian, gay, and transgender Texans for discrimination".

(See full interviews: https://www.equalitytexas.org/for-immediate-release-lgbtq-and-civil-rights-groups-take-on-texas-slate-of-anti-l)

What can we do to help?

Moving towards equality in Texas will prove to be no easy feat, but it is certainly worth the fight. Lawmakers are currently in session to discuss HB 3859, SB 2078, and many other unjust anti-trans bills that WILL become laws if we do not let our representatives know that what they are doing is cruel and unusual. Show up! Speak Up! Call your representatives! Stand up for what YOU know is right. This legislation instills unreasonable fear in cisgender people. That fear becomes transphobia, causing hysteria in Texas communities and ultimately leading to unjust homicides and assault. Let's make Texas a safe space for all people. If you are unable to lobby alongside The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Texas, here are a few links to pledge against and petition the bills that are currently being discussed:


https://secure.everyaction.com/285BUlGx4UORW1tA2cmULg2

https://secure.everyaction.com/eMEC5CrWY0izLq9AwO0...

https://www.equalitytexas.org/take-action/pledge/






Cover Image Credit: The Daily Beast

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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What It Means To Be Nonbinary, From 5 People For Whom It Is A Reality

The future isn't binary.

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Until college, I had never met anyone who did not identify with the gender they were given at birth. When I met my first friend who was nonbinary, I had a lot of questions.

Not wanting to be disrespectful, I kept a lot of them to myself, but after reflection, I realized that I would rather ask questions and be informed in order to respect my friends.

Recently, when the topic of being nonbinary has come up in conversation, I realized that a lot of people I know ignore it because they are confused by it. I find that completely ignorant. There is no excuse not to respect how your fellow humans identify.

I decided to write this article to spread awareness and help people understand what it means to be nonbinary. I am not nonbinary myself, but I have many friends who identify as nonbinary. It is not a phase or a trend, and they are real people.

When you google "nonbinary," this is what comes up:

Everyone expresses gender differently, so that is why I decided to interview a few of my friends in order to get a full understanding. Gender, just like sexuality, has no right or wrong answer. It is a spectrum.

A few of my friends have taken new names, which means that the name that was assigned to them at birth is now their "dead" name.

(Some of the interviewees are not publicly out, so I am writing under a fake name for them!)**

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what nonbinary is. Just remember to be kind and respectful of one another.

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