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Protesters protesting the removal of the trans health care ban at the Texas Capitol

Hundreds of protesters filed into the Texas Capitol in Austin on Tuesday to protest SB 14, a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for trans youth in the state. Some protesters were forcibly removed from the building by police, sparking outrage from LGBTQ+ rights groups.

In video captured by CBS affiliate KEYE-TV’s Michael Adkisson, Department of Public Services officials were seen corralling the protesters and forcing them out of the building. Officers can be heard yelling “Let’s go, let’s go!” To the protesters, who were chanting “trans rights” in support of LGBTQ+ youth.

#BREAKING: Several LGBTQ advocates were forcibly removed from the Texas State Capitol after demonstrating in the House gallery (breaking the decor).

They are protesting SB 14, a bill that would ban gender-related treatment for minors. #txlege https://t.co/uR3xz9KnTu pic.twitter.com/G3FtYFYddq

— Michael Adkisson (@madkissonnews) May 2, 2023

Some protesters refused to move, prompting “heated scuffles” and forcing advocates out of the building, KEYE reported. At one point, a group of counter-protesters engaged in a shouting match with LGBTQ+ rights supporters before leaving the premises, KEYE reported.

“We are deeply disturbed and watching closely what happened at the Texas Capitol. We have seen violence and arrests against Texans today, many of whom are queer and transgender, and who will be directly affected by this bill,” said All in for Equality, an ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas. and other advocacy groups, the group said in a statement.

The Texas Freedom Network tweeted that prominent trans activist Sofia Sepulveda, Community Advocacy and Engagement Manager at Equality Texas, has been banned from the Capitol building for a year after hanging a banner in the Rotunda that read “Let Trans Kids Grow Up.”

@TransTexas board member and @EqualityTexas staff, Sophia is now banned from the Capitol for an entire year for dropping a banner in the main rotunda.

🏳️‍⚧️ We stand in solidarity with Sophia and trans Texans. We will not be silent. #txlege pic.twitter.com/S8ujkKmUJk

— Texas Freedom Network (@TFN) May 2, 2023

“Loving families, community members and advocates were here peacefully protesting the extremist ban on transgender health care that puts the lives of our young people at risk. None of them deserve to be criminalized or brutalized,” the group wrote in another tweet.

We’re here in Texas today with @TransTexas, @TFN, @ACLUTx, @EqualityTexas and many others across the Lone Star State to fight back against efforts to harm our communities.

LGBTQ+ people are here to stay — and we won’t let anyone take away our rights. pic.twitter.com/3JTCmuIvOj

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) May 2, 2023

“LGBTQ+ people are here to stay — and we will not let anyone take away our rights,” the Human Rights Campaign wrote, adding that the bill represented “an attempt to harm our communities across the Lone Star State.”

The bill, which has already passed the state Senate, was surprisingly sent back to committee in the House after protests, KEYE reported. An alternative bill was considered and approved by a 6-5 vote. It is unclear when that bill will be reinstated.

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