It looks like the debate last year over the so-called 'bathroom bill' has resuled in a major change in Texas politics, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
42 openly gay people are running for political office in 2018 according to a report by Equality Texas. That is three times the number of openly gay candidates in any previous campaign year.
Chuck Smith of Equality Texas says you can thank the debate over the 'bathroom bill.'
"This is the result of LGBTQ people spending 2017 watching themselves be attacked in the Texas Legislature," Smith told News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.
A gay woman is challenging State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), and a gay men is among the Republican contenders for the seat being vacated by the retiring U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio).
"The only way and the best way to change that is to be one of the decision makers and be a part of the process," Chuck Smith said.
The 'bathroom bill,' which was defeated both in the regular and special sessions of the Legislature, was considered to be a slap against LGBTQ individuals. It would have restricted public rest room use to the gender on the person's birth certificate, disallowing transgender individuals from using the restroom that matches their gender identity.
Supporters said it would prevent sex predators from claiming to be transgender in order to enter women's restrooms and assault women and girls, even though there is no evidence that is happening, and even though committing sex crimes is already against the law.
The bill was widely seen as a way to roll back protections for LGBTQ people, and was roundly opposed by business and tourism.
"It was relentless, in terms of six months during the regular session and then during the special session, people being under attack," Smith said.