Activist and consultant Lou Weaver, who rallied for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and helped shape Harris County Sheriff’s Office policies to protect LGBT inmates, is moving on to a new job focusing on transgender equality.
In the new role with Equality Texas, Weaver will work to educate people across the state about trans folks and help organize the transgender community living in far-flung places into a united group.
“I am thrilled to announce my new position as the statewide Transgender Programs Coordinator for Equality Texas. There is a lot of work to be done here in the Lone Star state, and I am looking forward to opportunities working with the LGBTQ community,” Weaver said in announcing the news earlier this month.
Weaver described how isolated he felt before coming out as trans eight years ago in a recent Houstonia magazine profile:
“In hindsight, Weaver says his next coming-out – as a transgender man – was inevitable. He moved to Houston in 2001, at first living in the suburbs and coaching softball – “typical lesbian stuff, I suppose.” But not long after that, he managed to find the city’s transgender community. “There was finally a place for me to go, and it was amazing,” he says. “I knew I was home. I didn’t have to explain myself.”
The job seems like a good match for Weaver, whose consulting career is all about educating companies, agencies and individuals about trans. In his role as consultant, Weaver worked with previous Harris County Sherriff Adrian Garcia to craft policies to protect LGBT people in custody, as well as to extend discrimination protection for employees of the department.
The inmate protection policy, which was put in place in 2013, bans “discrimination or harassment of any kind based on sexual orientation or gender identity is strictly prohibited,” and details how LGBT inmates will be searched, booked and housed. The policy is the best in the country, Weaver has said, though he and others worry that current Sheriff Ron Hickman may roll back some of the measures. Hickman has said he won’t water down the policies, but he did cut LGBT training for jailers and publically opposed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
Here’s the full text of Weaver's announcement:
I am thrilled to announce my new position as the statewide Transgender Programs Coordinator for Equality Texas. There is a lot of work to be done here in the Lone Star state, and I am looking forward to opportunities working with the LGBTQ community.
One of my top priorities will be to bring Trans communities throughout Texas together to support collaborations and base building between one another. I believe we are stronger together and we can have a strong unified voice. Many meaningful conversations this year will move our work forward, and I intend to foster these conversations with other stakeholders. As Trans people living in Texas, it will be up to us to highlight our communities and our individual stories. In my new position, you will see me working in three areas:
- Empower and elevate Transgender and gender nonconforming communities
- Introduce Texas to Trans folks through public awareness and public education
- Working with local communities to outline Trans inclusive public policies
Now more than ever, we need to show others that Trans people are proud Texans. I know we can conquer LGBTQ inequality. I look forward to working with everyone this year.