LGBTQ candidates offer welcome change for Texas

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Photo Credit: Victoria Smith | Daily Texan Staff

The LGBTQ community is rising up to fight back against their attackers. A record number of openly LGBTQ candidates are running for public office in Texas, according to Outsmart, a Houston LGBTQ magazine. Students and young voters should consider these candidates over the 49 others in the upcoming primaries for their ability to bring positive, progressive change in Texas. 

These candidates, all of whom are Democrats except for five, express a frustration with the current administration and recent Texas politics. Many politicians have continuously struck back at LGBTQ victories, such as gay marriage legalization, and have attempted to belittle basic human rights, such as with the Texas bathroom bill. It’s a time for change from the conservative, white-male politics that have reigned true in the past 23 years since the last Democratic Texas
governor left office. 

“More and more, people are beginning to understand that being out and being in politics is not something that is mutually exclusive. As a young gay Latino, it is inspiring to see candidates take a stand for what they believe in,” said government senior Luis Veloz.

Voters can only hope to create change by showing up to the booths. These candidates want to create and push much-needed
legislation to protect the rights of those currently under attack. As young voters, we all have a responsibility to show up March 6 and cast our vote. The current Texas governance does not have the best interest of its people at heart. 

If there were any question of this, one need only look at Gov. Greg Abbott’s bathroom bill. The legislation attempted to strip away the rights of transgender people by taking away the simple function of using the bathroom of their gender. This session cost more than $700,000. It was a wasted effort, as Abbott’s much-desired bill did not pass. 

Politicians are spending time and taxpayer money attacking the rights of its constituents — the LGBTQ community — rather than working on important issues. A disproportionate amount of hours were spent arguing over a bathroom bill rather than working on our child welfare system. 

“Students should vote for candidates that are able get things done,” Veloz said. “It is of little use if we have a LGBTQ candidate in office, but they can’t pass a bill to help the community. Experience in a candidate matters.”

In the deep red heart of Texas, LGBTQ candidates seem unlikely to win positions. However, even among intolerant constituents, there are currently 18 elected officials who openly identify as LGBTQ, meaning that there’s hope. Come vote on March 6. I hope to see you all there. 

Rose is an English and rhetoric and writing sophomore from The Woodlands. Follow him on Twitter @jeffroses