|The Fayette Co Courthouse in La Grange|
For the last couple of months the Equality Texas Foundation has been working with local volunteers to bring our Equality Project Training to La Grange, a town about an hour east of Austin. If you’re not familiar with the Equality Project it’s our day long training designed to teach people about LGBT issues in the legislature and how to establish and maintain relationships with elected officials.
What’s been interesting, as I travel around the state, is the response I’ve gotten from people when they learn we’re organizing in La Grange. Inevitably it’s been some variation on:
“Good luck with that! Are there even any LGBT in La Grange?”
Well for starters: of course there are LGBT people in La Grange! But beyond that, asking if there are LGBT people in La Grange is the wrong question, the right question is:
“Are there people who want to live in a state where everyone is treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression in La Grange?”
The answer to that is a resounding YES!
I started working on bringing the Equality Project to this part of the state because it is represented in the Texas House by Rep. Louis Kolkhorst, who chairs the House Public Health Committee. Public Health decides the fate of several pieces of important legislation, including bills designed to insure that gay and lesbian parents have the same legal rights with respect to their children that straight parents have (an issue supported by 68.8% of Texas voters).
I called every phone number we have for people in Kolkhorst’s district and managed to get in contact with an energetic (straight) retired lawyer named Vickie who agreed to meet me for coffee. Vickie brought two friends with her to that meeting and the four of us talked about what was happening in their community and about how Equality Texas could help.
Together we decided that it was a good idea to bring the Equality Project to La Grange. So this Saturday, June 16th, we’re going to spend the day learning how to effectively communicate with elected officials.
What’s amazing is that it’s not just going to be Vickie, her two friends and myself at the training. So far 14 people have signed up to attend and we’re hopeful we’ll have even more on Saturday.
From one person, to three, to fourteen… and who knows where we’ll go next.
That’s why Equality Texas is in La Grange, because it’s crucial that people there and in Temple and Killeen and La Porte and every other Texas city, big and small, talk to their elected officials and tell them that they want to live in a state where everyone is treated equality, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
If you are in the La Grange area (and I have every confidence that some of you are) and would like to attend Saturday’s training you can sign up here. If you would like to bring the Equality Project to your town, no matter how small, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org