Texas legislators have introduced a bill to add crimes based on gender identity to the state's hate-crimes law.
"There is no reason to not have transgender [protections listed] in the Hate Crimes Act or [to have] any other barriers to transgender Texans," Democratic Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston, the bill's lead author, said at a press conference Monday, according to OutSmart, a Houston LGBTQ publication.
Texas's James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, passed in 2001, allows trial courts to enhance penalties for crimes motivated by the victim's real or perceived race, religion, color, sex, disability, sexual orientation, age, or national origin, but it does not include gender identity.
Coleman has introduced the bill several times during the past decade, but he expressed confidence that it will finally pass this session. "People have a better understanding of transgender Texans than before," he said at the press conference.
There are 1.4 million transgender Texans, said trans activist Monica Roberts, who attended the press event and noted some major violent crimes committed against trans Texans recently.