Hundreds 'March for Equality,' against so-called 'bathroom bill'

LGBTQ community holds Equality March in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas -- As the March for Equality took place in Washington D.C., Austin city leaders and the LGBTQ community had a sister march of their own at the Texas State Capitol.

Jimmy Flannigan -- Austin's first openly gay city council member -- along with state representative Lloyd Dogget and Mayor Steve Adler were just a few who spoke at the Equality March for Unity and Pride, an event to show resistance against big issues such as the so-called "bathroom bill."

"You shouldn't hide who you are to make other people feel comfortable," supporter Mel Ziolkowski said. "Them standing up for themselves is being met with backlash from the people that were sworn to protect them."

Ziolkowski is a transgender man, whose wife counsels LGBTQ and trans youth. He said the "bathroom bill" would do more harm than good.

"They come in with bladder infections and UTIs because they are holding it all day, because they are afraid of going to the bathroom," Ziolkowski said.

"This is about right and wrong -- not right and left," Flannigan said.

Marchers feel state leaders' special session regarding sex-based restroom use is discriminatory.

"Too many people here thought when we said, get out of our bedrooms it meant get into our bathrooms," Dogget said to the crowd.

People drove into Austin from other cities across the state to show their support for LGBTQ communities.

"They don't realize all the pain and all the suffering that they are all going through while making this transition," said supporter Richard Wise, who drove in from Dallas.

Hundreds gathered on the south steps as speakers shared stories of the upward struggle for fairness, including Texas' first transgender mayor, Jess Herbst.

"Once I could have been arrested just for being myself. Now, I stand before you as a mayor of a Texas town," Herbst said.

Supporters feel progress is being made. But for the younger generations they feel that change can't come quick enough. They said they hope Sunday's marching can create an even stronger voice for change.

Flannigan told the crowd of supporters to become more active in voting, helping to get representatives who will fight for LGBTQ rights. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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