This guide provides legal information relevant to the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ stands for and includes: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning.
The resources in this guide address the unique legal challenges confronted by the LGBTQ community. These include same-sex marriage, gender marker changes, and discrimination.
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Note The 88th Regular Legislative Session begins on January 10th, 2023. This means new laws may be passed in early 2023 that may affect this subject. To research pending legislation on this topic, please see the resources below.
On February 18, 2022, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion related to gender-affirming care for trans children. In the opinion, Paxton finds that some treatments and procedures constitute "child abuse" under Texas law.
The attorney general issues opinions when something about a law is unclear. Only certain people, such as legislators or agency heads, can request a clarification of the law from the attorney general in the form of an opinion. The attorney general's opinions are not legally binding by themselves but can serve as guidance for enforcing the law.
On February 22, 2022, Governor Abbott sent a letter to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The letter instructed DFPS to investigate possible child abuse of trans children due to the treatment they receive.
On October 25, 2021, Governor Abbott signed HB 25. This bill requires trans students playing school sports to play on the team that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth. The law uses the birth certificate issued at the time of the student's birth to determine their gender. A student will not be able to use an amended birth certificate with an updated gender marker. The new law went into effect on January 18th, 2022.
There are two important pieces that make up the law about LGBTQ rights. One piece is the statutes, which are the written laws that make up the United States Code. The other piece is the rulings by courts that say what these statutes mean and who they apply to. The courts also decide whether the statutes violate people's rights and should be struck down.
Supreme Court opinions especially have a big impact on what the law means for LGBTQ people.
Since 2000, the Supreme Court has decided several "landmark" cases about LGBTQ rights. The cases listed below were historically important and had a large impact on the law.
The Supreme Court has also denied certiorari for several cases related to LGBTQ-rights. This means that the Court refused to hear the case, leaving the previous ruling from the lower court in place.
The law affecting LGBTQ rights is constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up with new developments! The links below track pending lawsuits and proposed legislation about LGBTQ issues.
These organizations are active in promoting legal rights, research, and awareness in Texas. They are great sources of information for how the law affects LGBTQ Texans.
These organizations are active in promoting legal rights, research, and awareness at the national level.
Below are some of the library resources aimed at practitioners that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.