Texas Transgender, Family and Faith Leaders Respond to SB6 Lobby-Melissa Ballard-Transgender Universe - Austin, Texas – A broad coalition of transgender and ally faith and family leaders spoke out on Thursday condemning SB6
Photo by Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Austin, Texas – A broad coalition of transgender and ally faith and family leaders spoke out on Thursday condemning SB6 in response to Texas Values, a leading proponent of the divisive and controversial legislation, as they spread misinformation about transgender people in their so-called “Faith & Family Day” event in Austin.

Trans United Fund Texas, the Dallas Stonewall Democrats, Texas Believes, and nearly a dozen transgender affirming religious leaders have joined together and issued the following statement:

“Across our diverse religious traditions, we join together today under a shared belief that, regardless of who we are, we are first and foremost children of God. And God’s first teaching is that he loves each and every one of us including transgender people. As servants of God’s message of love, we remind our Austin legislators to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. SB6 denies our transgender family members the humanity God has bestowed upon them while using misinformation and fear to justify these indignities. This is not who we are. And this is not how our faith teaches us to treat one another.”

“As transgender and ally ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders representing congregants across Texas, we are called today to express our deepest, most heartfelt opposition to SB6 and the bill’s attempt to exclude transgender people from public life.”

Dallas-Forth Worth Trans Kids and Families Founder Melissa Ballard added:

“As a Christian, SB6 is abhorrently discriminatory against our trans children and their families. Christianity is based on the idea that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. SB6 goes against this fundamental teaching. DFW Trans Kids and Families proudly stands up for our trans children and their parents — many of whom are deeply religious. Our state motto is “friendship” but our legislators who voted to advance this bill, and proponents like Texas Values are failing spectacularly at even that simple idea.”

Here is a complete list of signatories:

Dani, Pellett, Board Member, Dallas Stonewall Democrats
Finnigan Jones, Trans-Cendence International
Mayor Jess Herbst, Town of New Hope, Collin County, TX
Monica Roberts, Board Member, Trans United Fund
Melissa Ballard, Dallas Fort Worth Trans Kids and Families
Rabbah Mona Matlow
Rev. Dr. Joretta L. Marshall, Brite Divinity School
Rev. Susan Blanchard-Jones, Trans-Cendence International
Rev. Dr. Katie Hays, Galileo Christian Church
Rev. Nathan A. Russell
Steve Sprinkle, Brite Divinity School
Trans United Fund Texas
Texas Believes
Pastor Ken Ehrke, Embrace United Church of Christ

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Melissa Ballard is a native Texan with a wonderful husband, Ken, transgender teenaged son, Ashur, and a quirky daughter named Kennedy. When not struggling with multiple sclerosis or chasing her husband while cycling for Bike MS, she is advocating for trans kids and their rights. In early 2015 a group was formed as a social connection for local transgender kids and their families and soon after www.dfwtkf.com was born. In just under a year, the social group has grown to more than 100 active members including parents and siblings of trans and gender non-conforming kids. Speaking to others and letting them know they are not alone is one of her greatest goals and will continue to be a focus in the future.