Equality Texas is trying to coerce and shame trans people into supporting them


Cavan Ó Raghallaigh

Legislator Debbie Riddle introduced a bill fatal to trans people that our splintered queer community is defenseless against.

Last year Plano Texas passed an amendment to its human rights ordinance which legalized prohibiting transgender people from public accommodation, specifically the restroom. It’s common knowledge that the city council did this to satisfy Toyota which is moving its corporate headquarters to the city, although they deny it.

Trans people didn’t know anything about this ordinance beforehand.

The transgender community was blindsided as the council passed it without an announced public forum in only one session.

But Gay and Lesbian people at Equality Texas and the local gay group GALA did. And evidently so did the local hate groups judging from the incredibly broad provisions excluding them from it.

Equality Texas acting like HRC used to, ignored the concerns of transgender people and supported it.

So did GALA, They responded to the transgender community’s outrage by warning us that we’d never see another trans-inclusive law in the state if we didn’t act right and support them. Ever.

And, of course, the city’s hate groups and state religious extremists opposed it out of general purpose and vowed to bring it down.

The L and the G divorces themselves from the Texas T.

Afterwards, I posted predicting that we would be helpless now that we were scattered making a perfect target of the newly elected tea party Governor’s shotgun. Soon after the legislative session began that prognostication came true when Debbie Riddle introduced HB 1747 and HB 1748 outlawing trans people from using the bathroom and imposing a penalty on business that did.

I expected Equality Texas to contact us even though they remained unrepentant or even unapologetic about its recent slamming of transgender people under the bus. But quite frankly I was unprepared for Cavan Ó Raghallaigh who contacted me early this morning.

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TENT or Transgender Education Network of Texas position statement is not ‘identical’ to Equality Texas’s position. TENT issued a statement saying they “do not support Plano’s endangered Equal Rights Ordinance but at the same time don’t want to see that ordinance repealed.”

This led cries of Betrayal and the split of not only trans and gay people but a war has begun between the states transgender groups as well.

I had enough of this individual at that early hour so in utter frustration I blocked him.

That was quickly followed by a message to Planet Transgender on facebook.

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Nell is the president of the Dallas-based Trans Pride Initiative which adamantly opposes the Plano Ordinance and has condemned Equality Texas for throwing trans people under the Plano bus. So hearing that Nell was working with this representative of Equality Texas came as a big surprise.

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Nell Gaither told Planet Transgender this morning

“Well, the GALA VP and EqTx board member said for over a month that I was the only trans person who met with Plano staff who opposed the Plano ordinance, even after both Paula and Leslie had spoken out against it. The “tally” of the six local trans persons in attendance in Plano were three opposed, two have never stated either way, and one supported.”

“I found out from someone else that an EqTx staffer was telling people that EqTx folks were calling me and I was not taking their calls and not calling back. The day after finding that out, I called Chuck to ask if I had not returned any phone calls I didn’t know I had received. He said no, no one had been trying to contact me. I gave him the name of the person allegedly saying that and asked him to talk to that person and Jeanne about their lies.”

Gaither elaborated saying “I’m suggesting that people should avoid working with Equality Texas because they’ve sold us out in Plano and likely will elsewhere. Yesterday I was asking people to not use their easy tool to oppose HB1747 and 1748 because that helps them appropriate trans issues, and they can have more of an impact contacting folks directly.”

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Equality Texas’s EASY TOOL

Planet Transgender Easy Tool? What’s an easy Tool?

Nell responded This is the “easy tool.”

That will send a form email, which has some impact, but as most people just send as is, the staffers read the subject and see it is the same, and just add a checkmark on a tally sheet.

Planet Transgender: I want people to know that Equality Texas through their proxy is misrepresenting you.

Nell said “Thanks so much for posting this link. This is an extremely important issue, but this link (Easy Tool) needs more information.”

“Everyone should be aware that this link is run through an organization that supports trans-exclusionary nondiscrimination policy, and is working on a program that will expand trans-exclusionary policies in cities and towns across Texas.”

“Going through this link helps them further appropriate trans issues for their own purposes, including fundraising to pay their ED’s $90k+/year salary and undisclosed amounts to bring on new staff for a project that will spread these exclusionary policies around the state.”

“What’s more, just sending a bulk email through their site registration has limited effect.”

“But you don’t have to go through their web tool to object to these policies!”

“If the choice is use this tool or nothing, go ahead and use it. But if you can do just a little more, you will better support the trans community by avoiding their link.”

Learn about HB1747 here

Learn about HB1748 here

Learn about another really harmful bill, SB343 here

“SB343 is being touted as a bill to create a more uniform business-friendly environment in the state, but what it actually does is eliminate all nondiscrimination policies, even the good ones in places like Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso that are not like Plano’s exclusionary policy. Read more here

“Call or write your representatives to let them know you object to these bills. It only takes a few minutes. If you need to know who your representatives are, you can find out easily here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

“When writing or calling, you will want to mention that you are a constituent. A representative’s own constituent’s words carry more weight. Of course, if writing a letter, they will see from the return address, but still, it’s good to point out that you know they represent you and you vote for (or against) them.”

“I start off with something like “Hi, I’m a resident of District XX and was proud to vote for you in the last election.” Add anything that you may have done to help them get elected — tell your friends about them, anything showing support. If you didn’t vote for them or didn’t work for their election, that is fine, just leave it out. Even if you supported, limit this to just a few sentences.”

“Then say I’m contacting you because I’m concerned about HB/SBXXXX, which I strongly feel should be opposed.”

“If you aren’t sure how to say more, that is fine — communicating just that is enough to register opposition! I say this because we don’t want to make communicating with representatives intimidating. It can be that easy.”

“If you feel like saying more, provide some reasons for your opposition. If you have a personal story about how this would affect you, your family, or your friends, tell it. If comfortable, you may want to say you are cisgender or transgender, and being either can be helpful.”


I’m not trying to tear anyone down, especially someone who has advocated in the past for us. But I will not stand for any HRC organization that thinks it can manipulate, use and bully transgender citizens.

My Cavan Ó Raghallaigh you introduced yourself as the lead for Equality Texas on this issue. By doing so, you are representing them. You have insulted me personally with your canned lies. How stupid do you think we are? Did you really think I would fall for this? Better check your history Mr. Cavan Ó Raghallaigh.

I directly helped in bring down Equality Maryland for the same shit.

Are you pissed at this outrageous treatment of transgender people? You can make a difference.

Chuck Smith, Executive Director Equality Texas
(512) 474-5475 phone, ext. 1
(512) 474-6297 fax

E-mail: Chuck@equalitytexas.org

Editor in Chief at | Website

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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