Austin prides itself on being a welcoming community, open to all, and now there's a new city commission to help ensure it stays that way for the LGBTQ community.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Queer Quality of Life Advisory Commission met for the first time Tuesday evening.
The mission of the commission is to ensure the city's policies are fair, especially in a changing political climate.
Before the meeting started, the commissioners joined Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Jimmy Flannigan (District 6) and Alison Alter (District 10) to talk about the significance of the commission.
Flannigan is the city's first openly gay male council member and worked to create the commission.
Mayor Adler noted Austin has the third largest population of LGBTQ people per capita in the country, but added some hard-fought gains are now in jeopardy. He specifically referenced the so-called bathroom bill, that some say discriminates against transgender Texans, and send a message to Governor Greg Abbott.
"We have zero problem with the bathrooms in this building," said Adler. "The governor has asked the legislature to tell people in Austin where they need to pee. Really," he asked as the crowd laughed.
"I would ask the legislature to fix something that is really troubling. You know, most of our property tax increase in this city, 75 percent of it, is due to the fact that the legislature has yet to fix school finance," Adler added.
Austin has a track record of equality with the LGBTQ community. The city offers partner benefits and was the first city in Texas to earn a 100-percent score in the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index.
To learn more about the LGBTQ Commission, LGBTQ Commission, click here.