Photos: They Fought the Lege (and the Lege Won)


The Observer recaps the efforts of those who challenged the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Photos and reporting by Sam DeGrave

Libby Gonzales, a 7-year-old transgender girl, visited the Capitol several times during the session to fight “bathroom bill” legislation.

As far as controversial sessions go, the 85th Texas Legislature probably won’t stand above all others, but it was certainly wild and — depending on your perspective — disturbing. During the past five months, the Republican-dominated House and Senate passed a litany of bills that, if signed in their current state, will make life harder for millions of people living in Texas.

The state’s GOP leaders pushed policies targeting undocumented immigrants; women seeking abortions; same-sex couples trying to adopt; and transgender students, who already face a high risk of sexual assault and attempted suicide.

Those standing in the crosshairs pleaded, often in tears, with right-wing lawmakers, but more frequently than not their appeals were drowned out by conservative war cries. And the powerless progressives of the Texas Legislature — vastly outnumbered in both chambers — could do little to help. These photos chronicle the efforts of those who resisted and those who largely ignored them.