A man in Texas is offering to help at-risk LGBTQ+ homeowners flee the Lone Star state.
Flee Texas is the brainchild of gay Dallas realtor Bob McCranie, who runs Texas Pride Realty. He set up Flee Texas to help other LGBTQ+ homeowners in the state not just sell their homes, but also connect them with LGBTQ+ or affirming realtors in other states to help them purchase a new home.
"I've been in Texas since 1987 and I have seen this state transform into a juggernaut of right-wing conservatism," McCranie tells The Advocate.
In response, he created Flee Texas to help LGBTQ+ Texans who feel threatened by the current political and cultural environment find a safe space to live outside his state.
"As LGBTQIA+ citizens of Texas, many of us feel at risk," the Flee Texas website reads. "If you feel the need to leave the jurisdiction of Texas, let us help you sell your property here and connect you with an LGBTQIA or ally agent in a better location of your choice."
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, earlier this year used a legal opinion from the state's attorney general to declare that gender-affirming care for trans children is child abuse. He directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of trans children for child abuse. Some of those investigations have been temporarily blocked by the courts, but many LGBTQ+ folks now question whether they can continue to live their truths in the state they currently call home.
The family of Kai Shappley, a trans girl who testified against the transphobic bills in the state legislature last year, has sold their home along with most of their belongings and is planning to move elsewhere.
McCranie said he's trying to help families like Shappley's, and says those detractors who say he is doing it for the money "don't understand." He and others fear the state is returning to its homophobic and extremist past.
"A lot of people don't remember what it's like to be an illegal person," he says, noting the state once had harsh sodomy laws that outlawed same-sex sexual relations. "According to the state, affirming transness is now considered child abuse. So families with trans kids need to get out of this jurisdiction now."
Sadly, he fears the worst about his state. He knows of many LGBTQ+ folks who have moved to more tolerant areas like California, Colorado, and even Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It's a trend he expects to continue.
"I think that you will see a migration out of the red states," he says. "I have realtors in other states who are setting up the same services there."