This week’s second Texas Thorn recipient is Senator Bryan Hughes. Yes, the one responsible for last year’s infamous six-week abortion ban, Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) – one of the harshest anti-abortion bills in the country.
This legislative session, he has brought forth several anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
One of those bills is SB 14, which would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, despite the fact that medical experts agree it can be lifesaving and ultimately improve the well-being of trans youth. Not satisfied with that, Hughes filed a bill that would prohibit discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity unrelated to class in schools – think “Gay-Straight Alliance” (GSA) clubs. In SB 12, he defines drag as a “sexually oriented performance” and threatens venues hosting all-ages drag shows with fines of up to $10,000 and performers with criminal charges. Come on Bryan, are you really that threatened by a little glitter and glam?
Hughes claims that these anti-LGBTQ+ bills are about “protecting children”, yet has not lifted a finger to address gun violence, which FYI Senator, is the leading cause of death among children.
Senator Hughes, stop using the LGBTQ+ community as a scapegoat and focus on the issues that actually impact children’s lives.
Senator Roland Gutierrez, whose district represents Uvalde, TX, speaks against restrictions on drag shows.
Senator José Menéndez is our second Legislative Star this week! Not only is he a champion for Planned Parenthood, but he's also a huge LGBTQ+ ally, filing 11 pro-LGBTQ+ bills this session.
Senator Menéndez has also been a vocal opponent of SB 14, which would ban trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care.
Senator José Menéndez speaks against the passage of SB 14 and against Senator Campbell removing an amendment he worked with her on that would’ve grandfathered in trans youth who had already been on puberty suppressants.
Despite the difficult battle he faces in the Senate, he always attempts to amend and improve bills to reduce their harm. Take Senate Bill 2381 (SB 2381), for example, which would create a state-sanctioned website spreading disinformation and fear-mongering about the safety of abortion to pregnant people. Menéndez filed three amendments, two of which were adopted, to ensure that resources on kinship care and Safe Haven laws were included on the website, and to prevent coercive language.
Day after day, bill after bill, Senator Menéndez has been a steadfast ally to the LGBTQ+ community and has stood up for the full spectrum of reproductive rights. Thank you, Senator Menéndez, for always being ready to defend all Texans. Keep up the amazing work!
“ To the children who are watching ( ... ), I want you to know: I see you. Please know you have a lot of life to live. There are many people who love you, and you have much growth ahead of you….Please don’t let this [SB 14] or anything we do in this building [Capitol] discourage you from flourishing.”