“Changing hearts and minds” — This is a core mission of the Family Equality Council that my family learned about when we attended our first Family Equality event nearly 15 years ago. Since then, my family has strongly supported the work of the Family Equality Council, as they find compelling ways to share our families’ stories, unite our community through events and social media initiatives, and lead issue-based initiatives that motivate our families to speak up for change.
While the LGBTQ community has made major gains at the national level in the ability to form and protect our families, there is unfortunately a lot of work remaining to be done in states like Texas. Although I am a native Texan, I had to leave a couple of decades ago in order to live my life fully and openly. By living in elsewhere, I worked in companies with LGBT non-discrimination policies, received same-sex partner benefits, registered as domestic partners and later married my husband Carmine (nearly 20 years into our relationship), and adopted a son (and fostered another) through the public adoption system.
We moved to Austin in 2010 as our son was starting high school, and quickly became acutely aware of how far Texas remains behind the rest of the US. As you probably know, even after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, LGBTQ people in Texas still face unreasonable barriers to forming and caring for their families, including the recently-passed law allowing foster/adoption agencies to discriminate based on religion in their work with prospective parents.
Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to unite, share our stories, and lead change within our home state. We’ll be organizing a couple of gatherings in Austin over the next few months, starting with an end-of-summer Family Equality Pool Party at Deep Eddy on August 27 at 2pm. Check out our Facebook page for details. We hope you can join us!