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New laws impacting Texas LGBTQ+ community to take effect Friday

A host of new bills affecting the LGBTQ+ community are set to take effect Friday in Texas, after being major agenda items for lawmakers.
New laws impacting Texas LGBTQ+ community to take effect Friday
Posted at 2:05 PM, Aug 31, 2023

A host of new bills affecting the LGBTQ+ community are set to take effect on Friday, after being major agenda items for lawmakers of the 88th Texas Legislature.

SB 17 would eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion programs in universities and higher education.

SB 15, or the Save Women's Sports Act, would require college athletes to compete on teams that align with the gender they were assigned at birth.

SB 14 bans what's known as gender-affirming care for minors, or "procedures and treatments for gender transitioning, gender reassignment, or gender dysphoria and on the use of public money or public assistance to provide those procedures and treatments," according to the bill's authors.

SB 12 aims to ban drag shows or any performance that can be perceived as sexual in nature when minors are present.

Texas Values, a nonprofit advocacy group, played a big role in getting these bills passed during the legislative session. Jonathan Covey, the director of policy for Texas Values, said these laws are a top priority for many parents across the state.

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"We've had parents come to us but also we've seen it as a concern just within our communities here in Texas," he said. "Trying to especially get ahead of the ball on this and make sure we protect kids like the state of Texas has been known to do."

The most controversial new law is SB 14, which would prevent patients under 18 from seeking hormones, surgeries and puberty blockers.

"When kids become an adult, that's an adult decision they can make between them and their doctor," Covey said. "Before that, kids don't have the maturity to make that decision or know the risks involved to make that decision."

"It's kind of like a doorway they go through to targeting adults as well under the guise of protecting kids from doing something they might potentially regret," Teal Heidenreiter, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, said.

Former Killeen resident Teal Heidenreiter and their family moved out of state recently, and don't have any plans of coming back.

"We're choosing to stay up here and a big factor is the legislation and general political climate in Texas," they said. "It just doesn't feel as safe as before. We saw it coming as we were prepping to move and were like, we're glad we are leaving."

Heidenreiter said these laws will make Texas an unsafe place for queer kids and adults.

"We'd like to go back for lots of reasons, and it does kind of suck that it doesn't feel safe to do so," they said.

But others claim these laws are looking after everyone.

"We believe kids need to be protected," Covey said.

Some of these laws have been challenged in court, but are for now still expected to go into effect on Sept. 1.

This story was originally published by Alicia Naspretto at Scripps News Waco

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