LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

No Statewide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections
  • Campaigns in Texas
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LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Texas:

There are currently no explicit statewide nondiscrimination laws establishing LGBTQ non-discrimination in Texas.

The Latest on LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Texas:

In 2017 advocates in Texas faced two legislative sessions where discriminatory legislation took center stage. In the regular legislative session, advocates – including our partners at Equality Texas and Keep Texas Open for Business – defeated dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills. One bill allowing child welfare organizations to cite their religious beliefs as a reason for denying service to LGBTQ Texans passed and became law.

In August 2017 the Texas House and Senate adjourned, ending a summer 2017 Special Session without passing any anti-transgender legislation, a serious threat over the course of the year. Now, LGBTQ leaders are engaging in a robust public education campaign across the state in advance of the 2019 legislative session.

History of LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Texas:

  • February 18, 1982: The city of Austin votes to protect residents from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, becoming one of just under two dozen cities in the United States to do so.
  • June 26, 1983: The Texas legislature creates the Texas Commission on Human Rights (TCHR) to prevent employment discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, or sex.
  • May 25, 1989: The Texas Fair Housing Act is passed by the state legislature, adding protection against discrimination in housing to the powers and responsibilities of the TCHR.
  • 1990-2000: Local and national organizations engage in conversations about who LGBT Texans are, and support for fully comprehensive nondiscrimination grows.
  • September 26, 2000: Fort Worth becomes the first city in Texas to protect people from discrimination on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation. In 2009 the city updates the law to extend these same protections against discrimination based on gender identity.
  • October 1, 2002: The city of Dallas updates its existing nondiscrimination laws to include LGBT people. In November 2015, the Dallas City Council strengthens nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals.
  • June 10, 2004: The Austin City Council unanimously votes to extend comprehensive nondiscrimination protections to transgender individuals, following previous ordinances protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation. 
  • 2004-2013: Nondiscrimination gains support and builds momentum as local lawmakers grow to understand the importance of treating everyone fairly and equally under the law.
  • September 5, 2013: San Antonio joins several other major Texas cities in passing an ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination in their city. The ordinance covers city employment, housing, and public accommodations – but not private employment. 
  • May 29, 2014: The Houston City Council pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, making Houston the largest city in Texas – and the fourth largest city in America –to protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. Opponents of LGBT non-discrimination immediately begin efforts to repeal the ordinance. 
  • March 4, 2015: Texas Wins launches a statewide public education campaign to build support for protecting all Texans from discrimination.
  • June 1, 2015: The Texas legislative session ends, and even after 20+ anti-LGBT bills were proposed, nearly every one is defeated, an important win for LGBT Texans and their allies.
  • November 3, 2015: Opponents of LGBT nondiscrimination push through repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, following an ugly campaign filled with lies about transgender individuals. Advocates in the city and across Texas vow to keep fighting for fairness in Houston.
  • November 10, 2015: The City Council of Dallas votes unanimously to strengthen nondiscrimination protections for transgender residents.
  • June 30, 2017: The Texas Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell did not explicitly grant an inherent right to government-provided spousal benefits in marriages between same-sex couples, contradicting a days-old ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court affirming Obergefell.
  • August 15, 2017: The Texas Legislature adjourns the Summer 2017 Special Session without passing anti-transgender legislation, a significant victory for the broad coalition fighting against discrimination in the Lone Star State. Earlier in 2017 the coalition defeated dozens of other bills that would have allowed anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Municipalities with Non-Discrimination Protections

The following municipalities protect people from discrimination in housing only on the basis of their sexual orientation:

  • City of Port Isabel
  • City of Sour Lake

The following municipalities protect people from discrimination in housing only on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • City of Galveston

The following municipalities protect people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations only on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • City of San Antonio

The following municipalities protect people from discrimination in public accommodations only on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • City of El Paso

The following municipalities protect people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • City of Austin
  • City of Dallas
  • City of Fort Worth
  • City of Plano

Steering Committee Members of Texas Wins:

  • Equality Texas
  • Texas Freedom Network
  • Texas Research Institute
  • ACLU of Texas
  • Athlete Ally
  • Faith in Public Life
  • Resource Center

Businesses Leading the Charge Against Discrimination:

Texas Competes includes hundreds of major Texas employers who support “…the clear economic and business case for fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers, families, customers, and tourists.” By fall of 2015, the coalition boasted more than 300 members, including some of the state’s best-known and largest employers.

Last Updated January 05, 2021

Public Support:

  • A June 2015 Texas Tribune poll found that 73% of Texans agree that transgender people face discrimination in their lives.

  • A poll released in May 2015 showed that 62.6% of Texans supported updating the state’s non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people.

  • A 2013 Equality Texas poll showed a nearly identical 61% of Texans supporting non-discrimination protections for transgender people.

Active Litigation

Wittmer v. Phillips 66

Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Gender Identity Under Title VII

Key Date: February 6, 2019 • Ruling Issued Against Plaintiff by 5th Circuit
Status: Awaiting Further Action
Legal Team: Private Counsel
Type: Employment Discrimination

The case centers on Nicole Wittmer, who was offered employment with Phillips 66 after a job interview, but her job offer of employment was rescinded after her transgender status was disclosed.

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