Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter
January 9, 2019
AUSTIN — The Texas flag flown over the state Capitol on Tuesday recognized the transgender men, women and children who live in the Lone Star State.
Amber Briggle, whose 10-year-old son, Max, is a transgender boy, said she won the flag in a silent auction at the League of Women Voters State Convention earlier this year. She requested the flag fly in honor of all transgender Texans either on Max’s birthday or on Tuesday, the first day of the 2019 legislative session.
Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, honored her request to fly the flag. Briggle, who lives in Denton and serves as the co-chairwoman of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council, said the flag-raising was meant to raise the visibility of trans people across Texas.
“Transgender people are valuable members of our communities, and loved by countless people around them. Flying this flag today in honor of them is just one way of recognizing this fact,” Briggle told The Dallas Morning News late Tuesday. “Discrimination is not a Texas value, and voters recognize that. Flying the flag today was a powerful reminder of this. And an amazing way to begin this new legislative session.”
Howard, in a text to The News, said it was common for Texans to ask state lawmakers to raise a flag in honor or recognition of special occasions, people and causes.
“My policy is to assist these requests so long as they are not discriminatory,” Howard said. “I was honored to help Amber do so in recognition of the inclusion of trans Texans and the fact that our representative government truly represents all Texans.”
Two years ago, Briggle’s family and thousands of other advocates for transgender rights flocked to the Texas Capitol in Austin to advocate against the bathroom bill, which would have restricted what restrooms and changing rooms transgender people could use. That bill failed, thanks largely to opposition from Fortune 500 companies and other business interests.
This year, few expect the bathroom bill to be a priority once again. But LGBT activists say opposing this legislation, and anything else that may chip away at their rights, will remain a top priority. Briggle hopes her family can put the bathroom bill behind them.
“Let’s hope it’s a good sign for the rest of this year. I’m still tired from fighting in 2017,” she said.