A transgender person passionately testifying in the Texas legislature had a personal bodyguard stop chamber officials from cutting off their microphone while they called out Republicans for their “fascist” anti-LGBTQ+ bills. A TikTok video of the incident has been viewed over one million times as of Monday evening.
Loren Perkins testified against two bills targeting drag performances as well as against the state’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general.
“My voice may be shaky,” Perkins said early into their testimony. “My hands may be trembling, but it is not out of fear or trepidation, but out of indignation and righteous anger. I’ve been graciously provided by this body a mere two minutes to plead the case for my humanity.”
Perkins then said that they spent “not an inconsequential amount of time” during the morning deciding how to present themselves to the legislature in a way that would make their humanity clear.
“Isn’t that a shame?” Perkins said. “In reality, it should be obvious that I’m deserving of the same rights and privileges afforded everyone else.”
Perkins then accused Republicans of “hiding your bigotry behind children like cowards… by manipulating the words of an ancient text [the Bible] and shoehorning it into legislation aimed at an at-risk minority population.”
She then compared anti-LGBTQ+ legislators to Nazis, noting that the first books burned by the German fascist group in the 1930s and ’40s were those of Magnus Hirschfeld in the Institute of Sexual Health, an organization that embraced transgender and queer people.
Even after the Allied powers freed prisoners from Nazi prisons and death camps following the war, Allied countries continued to imprison LGBTQ+ people for their “so-called crimes,” Perkins noted.
“I will not sit here and debate your fascist ideology as peddlers of intolerance to serve no such stage on a public forum,” Perkins said, as a chamber official overseeing the testimony tried to cut Perkins off by repeatedly stating, “Thank you for your testimony.”
However, Perkins continued to speak. As they continued, their bodyguard blocked chamber officials from approaching Perkins or reaching their microphone.
“I will not stand for it. We will not stand for it,” Perkins continued, raising their voice as officials tried to interrupt their speech. “We may not win today, and we may not win tomorrow, but we will persist as we always have to fight off your oppression.”
After the chamber cut the audio from Perkins’ microphone, Perkins began shouting loud to remain heard.
“If you wish to eradicate or adequate transgenderism from the public life, as members of your party have said… you can pry that from my cold dead hands,” Perkins concluded, likely referencing recent comments from Daily Wire host Michael Knowles.
The LGBTQ+ allies who spoke against the state’s bills included a graduate student who accurately pointed out that a child is statistically more likely to be sexually abused in a church than at a drag show. Another speaker was an Austin school teacher who said that Republicans were using children “as a political weapon.”
“To me, it is clear that drag is not something that children are too young to understand and be exposed to, but actually something that many of you [legislators] are too old and close-minded to be making laws about,” the teacher said.
Texas Republicans have introduced 140 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community this legislative session alone. The bills include bans on gender-affirming care as a form of “child abuse” and bills ensuring that such care cannot be offered by medical providers, funded by insurance companies, or provided by supporting parents.
Other proposed state bills would criminalize any study of LGBTQ+ youth, replace school counselors with religious chaplains, ban diversity training, block LGBTQ+ content entirely from schools, forcibly out queer and trans students to their parents, and block trans people from participating in school sports, among other measures.
Outside of the Texas capitol building last Thursday, hundreds of pro-LGBTQ+ allies repeatedly chanted, “No place for hate,” while waving queer flags and signs of community support.