Sandra Whitely, founder of San Antonio’s Thrive Youth Center, an emergency shelter that offers housing placement, counseling, and life-skills training for LGBTQ adults ages 18 to 24, is encouraged by the changes. She points to Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s 2018 formation of the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, and local leaders’ directive against the anti-trans policy implemented by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as recent positive and impactful steps.
Still, Maddie Kennedy, Thrive’s director of community affairs/development, tells me, “Statewide barriers exist that we can’t overcome.” For example, changing a name or gender marker is costly and time consuming within the state. Medical services are so lacking for trans people that many wait six months or more, or else travel to Austin, for gender-affirming care.
“We have these blue dots in Texas,” says Kennedy “But when they’re surrounded by a red environment, the impact of conservative evangelicalism and an overwhelmingly white, rural Christian culture bleeds into how you view and what schools teach you about yourself.”
Read the full article by ROBIN CATALANO on the CNTraverler website here.