LGBTQ+

Texas’ anti-LGBTQ+ laws driving some people to flee state

Bob McCranie, a Dallas based real estate broker, created Flee Red States, a real estate service to help marginalized people in Texas find new welcoming homes.

In this Thursday, May 20, 2021 file photo, demonstrators gather on the steps to the State Capitol to speak against transgender-related legislation bills being considered in the Texas Senate and Texas House in Austin, Texas. Pride Month celebrations in the U.S. are taking place under unusual circumstances in June 2021, with pandemic-related concerns disrupting many of the usual festivities and political setbacks dampening the mood of LGBTQ-rights activists.
AP Photo / Eric Gay, File
In this Thursday, May 20, 2021 file photo, demonstrators gather on the steps to the State Capitol to speak against transgender-related legislation bills being considered in the Texas Senate and Texas House in Austin, Texas.

The latest demographic data showed that Texas continues to see population growth. But there were signs that some communities are leaving the state because of the passage of anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Bob McCranie, a Dallas based real estate broker, created Flee Red States, a real estate service to help marginalized people in Texas find new welcoming homes.

A lot of my friends kept talking about ‘what’s your plan B? Where are you going to go?’ Oh, I’ve already moved to Puerto Vallarta or I’m moving to Massachusetts or I’m getting out,” he explained. “So I just started talking about a conversation that’s been going on in the gay community very subtly, very quietly for a while. I just started talking about it publicly in a way that caught on.”

He said Texas elected leaders have made it clear to LTBTQ+ people that they are not wanted here.

"Every legislative session, our rights are the ping pong balls that they play with. They are passing bills that attack our community," McCranie said. "Why would you stay there when there are other places that want you to come that will treat you with respect and protect your civil rights?"

Eleven anti-LGBTQ+ laws were passed in the last legislative session.

State lawmakers banned puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans kids, banned trans athletes from college sports and labeled drag shows as sexual conduct.

McCranie said this past legislative session was the breaking point for many to decide to pack up and move to a more welcoming state.

"They can feel safer and not having the Proud Boys at Pride events to intimidate and provoke our community," he said.

In 2021, about 500,000 people left Texas for a variety of reasons. However, the state still saw a population increase.

McCranie predicted the exodus trend will increase as Texas continues to target the LGBTQ+ community.

I think it will be slow. But as more and more laws get passed, as we get closer to the new presidential election, as more people get ensconced in office, you will see this go faster,” he said. “And then you’ll have people who will be suddenly waking up and going, ‘oh my gosh, I should have thought about that.'”

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