In a press conference on February 5 at the Texas Capitol, the five founding members of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus revealed their legislative agenda and announced that caucus membership has quadrupled.
“I am so excited about the first Texas House LGBTQ Caucus Press Conference, which we hosted this morning,” state Rep. Mary González, who chairs the caucus, said in a statement on Facebook. “The caucus will focus primarily on housing discrimination, employment discrimination, LGBTQ youth issues and criminal justice. We look forward to sharing our plans to make Texas a more inclusive, equitable state . . .”
The Texas House LGBTQ Caucus was formed in January to “create a forum for Texas legislators to discuss issues that affect LGBTQ Texans and to further the goal of equality and justice for all Texans.”
Along with Rep. Mary González, the other original members of the caucus are: Rep. Jessica González (vice chair); Rep. Erin Zwiener (secretary); Rep. Julie Johnson (treasurer); and Rep. Celia Israel.
“If you would have told me that we would have five LGBTQ members in the Texas Legislature, I would have never believed you,” Rep. Mary González told the Dallas Morning News at the time the caucus was formed. “And all women, and all in the House.”
“Today’s meeting was an exciting and necessary step toward making Texas more inclusive,” said Rep. Jessica González. “The caucus sends a clear message that LGBTQ Texans are here and we are here to stay. I was excited by the number of eager allies who joined the caucus – they will be critical in our fight to better serve the Texas LGBTQ community.”
Members of the caucus were joined at the press conference by representatives of organizations who spoke in support the group’s goals. These included: Samantha Smoot, acting executive director of Equality Texas; Miriam Nisenbaum with the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter; and Rebecca Marques from the Human Rights Campaign.
Also present was Glen Maxey of Austin, who was the first openly gay member of the Texas Legislature, having served from 1991 to 2003.
Rep. Mary González’s office provided Out In SA with the following list of Texas House LGBTQ Caucus’ newest members.
Rep. Alma A. Allen, District 131 (D-Houston)
Rep. Rafael Anchia, District 103 (D-Dallas)
Rep. Cesar Blanco, District 76 (D-El Paso)
Rep. Diego Bernal, District 123 (D-San Antonio)
Rep. John H Bucy, III District 136 (D-Austin)
Rep. Garnet Coleman, District 147 (D-Houston)
Rep. Jessica Farrar, District 148 (D-Houston)
Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, District 120 (D-San Antonio)
Rep. Gina Hinojosa, District 49 (D-Austin)
Rep. Donna Howard, District 48 (D-Austin)
Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, District 39 (D-Weslaco)
Rep. James Talarico, District 52 (D-Round Rock)
Rep. Chris Turner, District 101 (D-Grand Prairie)
Rep. Armando L. Walle, District 140 (D-Houston)
Rep. Poncho Nevárez, District 74 (D-Eagle Pass)