Founders of the Texas LGBT Legislative Caucus, from left, state Reps. Erin Zwiener, Julie Johnson, Jessica Gonzalez, Mary Gonzalez and Celia Israel received the Leadership Award at the Equality Texas 30th anniversary celebration.

Equality Texas recently celebrated its 30th anniversary as the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ Texans, spending Saturday evening, Nov. 6, honoring

Journalist Harvey Kronburg and Equality Texas’ Acting CEO Angela Hale emceed the anniversary celebration.

heroes, milestones and victories across three decades of education and advocacy.

Elizabeth Myers, chair of the Equality Texas Foundation Board, said that the organization, founded in 1989 as the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby, as “always envisioned a Texas where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans and their families have full equality in the hearts and minds of our fellow Texans and in all areas of the law.

“We’ve come a long way,” she added, “and we’re proud to celebrate those who have fought against discrimination and stood tall for love, equality, and freedom for all Texans.”

Equality Texas has a long history in Texas, beginning in 1978 when lesbian and gay activists recognized the need to be active at the Texas Capitol. In 1989, they incorporated into the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, which changed its name to Equality Texas in 2006.

Acting CEO Angela Hale said, “The work of equality in Texas has not been easy, but the champions and allies at Equality Texas have never been deterred. In an often-hostile political climate, we’ve been able to increase HIV/AIDS funding, update hate crimes protections, defeat destructive legislation like ‘bathroom bills’ and ‘religious exemption bills” and help elect out legislators who formed the state’s first LGBTQ Caucus.

“We still have work to do to protect every LGBTQ Texan and visitor from discrimination, but after 30 years, it’s time to celebrate our incredible progress and community and time to go on the offense and pass a comprehensive non-discrimination bill to protect all Texans including LGBTQ Texans,” Hale continued.

Hale and veteran journalist Harvey Kronburg emceed the gala, which included the presentation of several awards:

  • State Sen. José Rodríguez and state Rep. Senfronia Thompson received the Legacy Award.
  • Texas House LGBTQ Caucus co-founders state Reps. Jessica González, Mary González, Celia Israel, Julie Johnson and Erin Zwiener received the Leadership Award.
  • State Rep. Sarah Davis received the Profile In Courage Award.
  • Monica Roberts received the Transgender Activist Award.
  • Kimberly and Kai Shappley received the Glen Maxey Activism Award.
  • Apple received the Business Champion Award.
  • Gearbox Software received the Business Leadership Award.
  • And VisitDallas and Texas Welcomes All former CEO Phillip Jones received the Business Association Champion Award.

For more photos from the event, see the Scene section in the Nov. 29 print edition of Dallas Voice.

— Tammye Nash, Photos courtesy Equality Texas