Ricardo Martinez is CEO of Equality Texas
Over the last two years in Texas, in and outside of the Capitol, I’ve stood side by side with the parents of transgender children. I have witnessed the devotion and unconditional love they have for their children. At those events at the Capitol, when I allowed myself a moment to tune out the noise, I could feel that love permeating throughout the room.
The purity and intensity of that love makes me long and yearn for my own parents — for that safety and goodness providing comfort when things around me are out of my control.
I’ve witnessed these parents’ unapologetic love and support of their children as they explore who they are in this world; freeing them to live courageously, fearlessly, and authentically. I have witnessed a love that enables them to grow up into empathetic, kind, and compassionate adults, making the world a far better place. This is parenting at its best. Thank you all for being here, thank you for fighting alongside them.
Texas broke my heart when the Governor ignored the documented evidence that limiting access to life-saving healthcare for trans children causes. He decided to send the commissioner from DFPS (someone he personally appointed) on a witch-hunt for loving families of transgender youth. To say that I’m angry is a dramatic understatement. These families are my family, our family. Their kids are my kids, our kids. Thank you all for being here, thank you for fighting alongside them.
I saw the look on the face of one of the mothers I have worked with — someone I deeply care for — and I saw the heart wrenching grief in her eyes. It’s the same devastating grief I saw on my mom’s face when her father died — loss, confusion, and despair.
Parents in Texas are grieving the loss of their sense of safety — feeling shocked, numb, and in disbelief. So much so that they can’t work, they can’t eat, and they can’t sleep.
I finally had an hour to go on a walk last Thursday. A song randomly played, and I had to stop on the side of Lady Bird Lake to sob. The song by James Bay, opened with: “Sometimes I’m beaten, sometimes I’m broken, ’cause sometimes this city is nothing but smoke.”
A part of me was lost to the ashes because of the unrelenting hate this state has put us through. But what has emerged out of those ashes is an absolute resolve to fix this.
The persecution of transgender people, of kids and adults, and the people who love them is fundamentally wrong. Trans people belong here, and deserve an existence defined by joy and prosperity. We must preserve the sacred futures of our kids. I say again: Thank you all for being here, thank you for fighting alongside them.
Things are very bad in Texas and across the country. But I ask our community to lean into hope, because Texas grassroots leaders are going to spark a revolution, raise hell, and kick some ass. We are a family. And I pledge to you today, that we will continue to fight for this community; stand by you; and when you are feeling exhausted and broken down, we will lift you up.
Thank you for your love, for your courage, and for your vulnerability. This is not easy. We see you; we hear you; we love you. And as you all are here, so are we here. And as you fight for them, so we fight for them. Take heart, change is coming.