Our Union’s Values
In 2021, delegates to Texas AFT’s statewide convention voted on a resolution supporting LGBTQIA+ students and educators.
This resolution not only codifies our values and commitment to equality but also guides our union’s policy work on a day-to-day basis.
Our Union Stands with LGBTQIA+ Texans
After several attempts to pass a bill banning trans students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identities had been thwarted during past legislative sessions, Republican lawmakers pushed through House Bill 25 in 2021, during the year’s third special legislative session.
HB 25 not only excludes and targets an already vulnerable and marginalized group of children, but it also requires educators to enforce the bill’s discriminatory measures, potentially embroiling educators in litigation.
Additional Attacks on the Transgender Community
The Legislature’s attacks on trans children began long before HB 25’s passage. In 2017, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed forward a bill that would have banned transgender Texans from using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity.
That bill failed only because the House and Senate could not agree on the severity of the discrimination required.
Texas AFT has vehemently opposed these exclusionary, regressive bills that hurt children, and we will continue to fight them. Without significant changes in the elected leadership of Texas, however, we expect more attacks on vulnerable students and additional attempts to criminalize parents’ medical decisions for their children.
Anti-Bullying Protections on Campus
While several individual school districts across the state have non-discrimination policies, there is no law in Texas prohibiting discrimination against teachers, staff, and students in public schools based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Students and educators across Texas should not live in fear of bullying and taunts. Texas must codify a prohibition on such discrimination. School district policies resulting from this legislation should make clear to parents, students, and staff that this kind of discrimination is not tolerated in Texas.
Removing Anti-LGBTQIA+ Curriculum Laws
Texas law dictates that public school educational materials must “state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense. Any sexual education conducted at public schools must also teach the same.
This law remains a part of the Texas Health and Safety Code even though the Supreme Court declared the law criminalizing homosexuality unconstitutional and unenforceable. This type of law banning the positive discussion of an LGBTQIA+ lifestyle in the classroom is known colloquially as “No Promo Homo” laws.
Texas is one of only five states that still have these laws on the books.
The State Board of Education recently failed again to acknowledge the existence of LGBTQIA+ Texans when it revised the state’s health curriculum standards in 2020. Though Texas AFT testified and lobbied board members in 2021 to approve educational materials that validate the LGBTQIA+ experience, the board has yet to do so.
Join Our Fight: If you’re a Texas school employee (K-12 or higher ed!), we invite you to join our union & the fight to pass our Respect Agenda. Join online today.