Austin ISD Pride Y’all! Let’s Write Some Letters!

Austin ISD Pride Y’all! Let’s Write Some Letters!

As a follow up to Linzy’s amazing presentation (find resources here!) Let’s use this time to take action!

Huge thanks to Amber Briggle for putting together resources so you can host your own letter-writing party. Find them here!

Today we will be sending postcards to the following people (so please write 5 postcards – 1 for each)

Your state house rep FIND YOUR STATE REP HERE


Speaker Dade Phelan (Speaker of the TX House of Representatives)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (Lt. Gov of TX and presides over the State Senate)

Gov. Greg Abbott (Governor of Texas – also has veto power)

Tips for writing your letter

Be sure to include your name and mailing address on each postcard. We don’t want their staff to throw away your postcard because they think you live outside the district!

Give them a quick intro about yourself and explain in one sentence why you care about the issue.

Make sure to tell them you’re a constituent – if you’ve lived in the district for a long time, let them know.

Make a specific ask: urge them to support or oppose a specific bill or piece of legislation

Use your story: Include a specific instance in your life where this bill could impact you.

Allow for follow-up, if comfortable: Include your contact information and offer to speak with them or their staff

Get creative! Write the letter by hand, use paper in a different color or size to stand out and get noticed.

Be polite, but firm. Swear words and name calling will only make them mad and give them reason to throw your remarks in the trash.

Keep it brief: stick to one page and one bill or issue

Talking Points:

* The Texas legislature only meets every-other year for 140 days. We have much more important things to focus on than restricting trans kids’ access to sports, health care, books, etc.

  • Name an issue that’s important to you! Examples could be: fully funding public schools; passing sensible gun laws; reducing our property taxes; legalizing medical marijuana; fixing the electrical grid to make it more reliable

* 66 percent of Texans support laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination. Targeting trans kids with these bills does not represent a majority of their constituents.

* Trans kids are KIDS. They don’t have a political agenda. Leave them alone.

* Every major medical association in America supports gender affirming care for transgender patients. Every. Single. One.

* Providing medical care for a child is not child abuse. The child abuse is removing that life-saving care, which is what many of these bills would do.

* Transgender people aren’t the threat. Trans people experience disproportionate levels of violence and discrimination and need PROTECTION.

* Banning books, healthcare, and pronouns won’t make kids less-trans. It will just make trans kids miserable (or dead)

* It costs the state of Texas NOTHING to be kind to LGBTQ people and let them live in peace.

* Mention one or all of the bills on this spreadsheet. Links are included for each bill so you can read the bills specifically and talk about them in detail if you’d like.

* Make it personal! Share your story and write from the heart.

* A note for cis-allies: If you are writing to protect a trans person you know personally, do not use their real name in these postcards as we don’t want to out them to a potentially-dangerous legislator.

More Ways to Help!

Organize another postcard writing party for your church, friends, neighborhood, etc. (See below for more info!)

Donate to the organizations and sign up for email and social media updates: ACLU, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Equality Texas, Texas Freedom Network

Text the word ACTION to 80123 to sign up for action alerts (ways to fight back) with the League of Women Voters

Write a letter to the editor in support of LGBTQ equality

Make sure your voter registration is active and up to date. Then VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION (including school board, city council, and in the primaries!). More info at

Follow Amber Briggle and sign up for her email. She’s the inspiration & primary resource for this letter writing party!

Join the private Informed Parents of Austin Facebook Group to be updated for additional action items on a school district level.

Host Your Own Party!

Use this info to host your own party!

Here’s a link to additional resources that may be helpful

Once you have all your letters collected, save on postage and put them in a manila envelope with this letter included:


Enclosed, please find several postcards written by Texas residents and voters. Each one is unique, but they all come from a place of love and support for transgender youth in Texas. We are asking you to oppose all bills that target trans youth, including those that limit or prohibit their access to age appropriate, best practice, life-saving healthcare. Every major medical association in the US supports gender affirming care for transgender people. When trans youth are affirmed as their authentic selves, they thrive. 

According to the most recent federal survey administered by the state, 29,800 youth in Texas between the ages 13 and 17 identify as transgender. Each one of these young people deserves the same rights as anyone else, and they are entitled to equal protection under the law. Most Texans agree. Indeed, a recent poll by the nonpartisan Texas Freedom Network found that 66% of Texans oppose discrimination against transgender people. 

Trans youth in Texas are students, athletes, musicians, artists, and so much more. They are members of our communities, and they have hopes, dreams, and aspirations just like all children do. They enrich the diversity of the social and cultural fabric that makes Texas such a great state.  

Trans youth in Texas don’t have a political agenda. They are just trying to lead their lives – to play, to study, to hang out with friends, and to dream of a bright future. And yet, they have been unfairly stigmatized and persecuted by lawmakers for years. It is time for the baseless attacks to end. 


Your Texas Constituents 

Where to Send Your Postcards

Rather than putting postage on every single postcard, bundle all of them together and mail in a large manila envelope to each individual legislator or leader. Use this Google doc to find the mailing addresses of Texas lawmakers.

You can also mail your postcards to Equality Texas and they will hand-deliver them to lawmakers. That way they cannot deny that they never received any messages from constituents about these bills. Mail to:

Equality Texas

Attn: Gordy Carmona

PO Box 2340

Austin, TX 78768

AISD Sex Ed To-Dos for Fall 2022

AISD Sex Ed To-Dos for Fall 2022

At long last, Austin ISD’s new comprehensive sex ed (Human Sexuality & Responsibility) lessons will be taught this fall!

As we know all too well, sex-ed opponents are also quite comprehensive in their misinformation about sex ed so it’s up to all of us to know the truth and make sure to address any lies as soon as we hear them.

The easiest way to do this is to simply ask someone with a wild claim about what’s included in the sex ed lessons to show you the specific lesson. All AISD sex ed lessons are available online so if someone claims, “the new sex ed lessons are teaching kids how to give oral sex” – ask them to send you the specific link for that lesson, because they absolutely will not find one.

That being said, there’s a chance that someone may have an issue with an actual lesson. For example, we’ve heard many anti-sex-ed folx claim that teaching kids the proper names for their body parts, like penis and vulva, is somehow pornographic or not age appropriate. To the contrary, there’s a wealth of research supporting why this knowledge, as well as information around consent and respect for others is so critical at every age. If you need help with some stats and research, you can find more here.

Also, if you’re confused about the new opt in requirements for sex ed in AISD, you’re not alone! Most importantly, know that you do need to OPT IN to sex ed this year. This is different than previous years. Spread the word.

When do permission forms go out? Permission forms will go out about 3 weeks before the start of instruction of the lessons. For elementary schools, that will likely be in November (there are fewer lessons and will be taught all in one week December 12-17). For secondary, it should go out in about mid-October (I don’t have the exact dates for teaching at secondary yet.)

How do permission forms go out? There will be a google form that will go out via email for all classes but there will also be paper copies available. Campuses/teachers will be in charge of this process so it will vary.

What happens if guardians don’t return the slips? Each campus principal is required by district policy to hold a parent meeting about the HSR process so look for that to happen at about the same time as letters should be going out. Again, though, the permission letter process will be run by campuses/teacher so while the district will be sending out reminders to them, how they follow up could vary campus by campus.

Continue to follow up here:

Dear Cishet Parents of Cishet Kids

Dear Cishet Parents of Cishet Kids

Dear Cishet Parents of Cishet Kids: (BTW: If you don’t know what cishet means, thanks for being curious: Cishet means you are both cisgender and heterosexual, aka: identify as the gender you were assigned at birth, and attracted to people of the opposite gender.)

If you’ve been supportive, yet silent in your support of trans kids and families, it’s officially time to upgrade your game from ally to accomplice.

Legislators are playing a political game that is putting the lives of your friends, neighbors, and classmates at risk. Greg Abbott has given free reign to Family and Protective Services in Texas to investigate all trans children and prosecute their parents as child abusers.

Teachers, doctors, and caregivers now have free reign to report any trans student (even though they are technically under no legal obligation to since Abbot’s letter is non-binding.) That student could be interviewed or put into “protective custody” while they’re being investigated. PARENTAL CONSENT IS NOT REQUIRED – Parents may not even be notified of the interview.

The only reaction to this situation is under-reaction at this point. We all need to be doing something. And don’t assume that if you don’t live in Texas that you’re safe. This is just a dress rehearsal for what’s to come if we don’t stop this now.

To start with:

1. Call your friends with trans kids. Check on them. Love on them. This is as scary as it gets as a parent. Imagine for one moment someone being able to take your kids away simply because you see them and love them for who they are.

2. Speak up. Many parents of trans kids do not feel safe putting a spotlight on their child or their family. You have the emotional distance to be a megaphone for their voices. Let them hear and see you supporting their kids. This doesn’t have to be in a formal setting. Speak up a wine nights. Speak up at the pick up line at school. The more others see you speaking up, the more comfortable they will be to do the same.

3. Show up. Parents of trans kids can’t be the only ones showing up at the capitol & school board meetings to defend their kids. Aside from not always being safe physically, or emotionally, they are busy parents, just like you. Allies need to be “relief pitchers” to show up in physical spaces to provide trans kids and their families space to heal from the ugliness and have the luxury of doing the same family things you want to do with your kids.

4. Be a safe space. Sure, rainbow tshirts and Facebook flag backgrounds can often be virtue signaling, but they can also help indicate you’re a safe space. Want to be more clear that you’re a safe space? Tell people. Let parents of trans kids know that you’re a safe carpool partner, home base if there’s an encounter at a bus stop, phone to call if they need an emergency pick up, or just someone to listen.

5. Support comprehensive, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex ed. Kids don’t grow up to be Greg Abbott when they’ve learned to treat classmates with dignity and respect.

6. And of course, get political! This means calling your representatives. Don’t know who represents you? Here you go! This also means VOTE – and not just for presidents – The school board votes you cast may be the most important decisions you ever make for your kids.

7. Stay informed. If you’re in Texas, join us at Informed Parents of Austin

New Texas Law = Big Changes in Austin ISD Sex Ed

New Texas Law = Big Changes in Austin ISD Sex Ed

In 2020, for the first time in over 20 years, the State Board of Education of Texas (finally) revised its sex ed curriculum standards. The newly adopted TEKS for Health Education can be found here, but for the most easily digestible source of what this all means for you and your students, check out the Texas Is Ready site.

There were also big changes this Legislative session. Jen Biundo from Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy did such an amazing write up for Texas is Ready that recaps the new sex ed changes across Texas, that we’re just going to call out some highlights here but direct you to her article for the most comprehensive information you need to know.

As a refresher, on October 28, 2019 the AISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved revised comprehensive and LGBTQ+ inclusive human sexuality and responsibility lessons for third through eighth grade students, which were scheduled to be implemented in May, 2020. Due to covid and the complexity of ensuring that students at home were only viewing the lessons for their intended grade, the lessons were put on hold for the 2020-2021 school year. All lessons are available online at the AISD website.

At long last, there were high hopes that 2021-2022 would finally be the year when Austin students received comprehensive, medically accurate, LGBTQ-inclusive health lessons….and they still can….but now you need to specifically ASK for them.

Yes, thanks to some bad bits of failed SB 442 and SB 1083 being added into school finance bill HB 1525, there are some new significant hurdles to Texas students receiving comprehensive health lessons.


Instead of the reasonable option of parents who don’t want their kids to receive sex education (based on the AISD survey with 5500+ respondents, that’s around 5% of guardians, or 1-2 students per classroom) opting out of the lessons, school districts must now get written permission from the 95%+ of parents or guardians who want their children/students to receive sex education. Yes. You must now OPT IN to sex ed.

This is a brand new law. Many parents and guardians will not know this and many students will slip through the cracks, especially students who are being sexually abused by guardians who don’t want them to have access to the information that could help them know how to reach out for help.


Although our top priority right now is raising awareness about the new OPT IN requirements for the lessons that have already been approved for grades 3-8, please note that the Austin ISD SHAC (School Health Advisory Council) has been actively reviewing, (and approving) new health lessons for grades K-2 that are now in jeopardy due to new requirements included in the same HB 1525 mentioned above.

Although we strongly support district transparency with curriculum and parents & guardians having ample time to review and provide feedback on curriculum changes, the requirements of this law will likely also present additional hurdles that make it harder for comprehensive sex ed, or even any kind of sex ed, to be passed on many districts. Those who oppose sex ed will be attending these additional meetings in full force and we’ll be asking you to help us to the same to speak up in support of empowering students with the information they need to be healthy now, and throughout their lives.

For specific changes, please visit the District Adoption Process section at Texas is Ready.


As shared in the Texas is Ready write up, “School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) are volunteer groups of parents, community members, and school staff and are charged with ensuring that community values are reflected in health education. SHACs make recommendations on many areas of student health, but because one of their duties is making recommendations to the school board on sex education curriculum, they have become something of a lightening rod for groups opposed to sex education.” We have also written about SHACs here and here.

The biggest part here is that “notification of all SHAC meetings must be posted 72 hours in advance. Additionally, audio or video recording of the meeting and meeting minutes must be submitted to the school district and posted online if the district has a website.” Our AISD SHAC already posts the notifications and posts meeting minutes. Our SHAC meetings have been online during covid and have started being recorded. Although some are fine with this given the “public meeting” nature of SHAC meetings, due to past experiences with aggression from the public which even required additional security for SHAC members at one point, it is understandable that others are hesitant to be so physically visible in a recording available to the public. You can read more about the new law, and some scary parts that were fortunately left out of the final version here under the School Health Advisory Council section.


Last but not least, HB 1525 made some changes about how sex ed lessons need to be made available to the public.

  • For sex education materials that are in the public domain, school districts must post materials online, if they have a website.
  • For curriculum materials that are copyrighted and not in the public domain, districts must allow parents to inspect the curriculum at their home campus or review the materials electronically in a secure manner that doesn’t allow them to be copied.

Austin ISD has always made sex ed materials available at the libraries of each school in the district and for the past two years they have also been available online. You can see them here.

For in depth, continued information on comprehensive sex ed that’s inclusive of LGBTQ+ students, please be sure to follow

Texas Is Ready

Texas Freedom Network

Equality Texas

and all of our wonderful community partners can be found here.

Don’t Wait to Become An Ally

Don’t Wait to Become An Ally

The first step in becoming an ally is getting Informed. We’re so glad that you’re here to gather information to help ensure that LGBTQ+ students feel safe and respected in your home, school and community.

Find links to all of the 2021 AISD Pride Week sessions at

In the “Don’t Wait to Become an Ally” session, we discussed four primary areas where we all can continue to strive to be better allies:

  • Being a visible ally
  • Supporting students who come out
  • Responding to anti-LGBTQ language/behaviors
  • Supporting school clubs such as Gay/Straight Alliances

Urgent ally action is needed this week as dangerous anti-transgender bills are being voted on in the Texas legislature. Your best sources for the most current information are Equality Texas, TENT (Transgender Education Network of Texas) and the Texas Freedom Network. You can link to all of their social networks from their websites.

Additional local LGBTQ+ resources can be found on our resources/partners page.

Below are links to the information shared with each group so you can refer to your group’s materials at a later date or dive deeper into the materials that other groups reviewed. All materials and links we have shared are from GLSEN’s educational materials for educators. GLSEN offers a wide variety of training for educators to help improve school climate and personal outcomes for LGBTQ+ students.

The complete GLSEN Safe Space Kit materials are available here.

Also read 6 Things LGBTQ Youth Want Allies to Do this Pride

Read more

Get Informed About AISD’s New Human Sexuality & Responsibility Curriculum

Get Informed About AISD’s New Human Sexuality & Responsibility Curriculum

If your school is like my son’s, you may encounter people handing out these flyers or leaving them on windshields during school drop-off and pick up.

Those of us who love and support LGBTQIA+ students may read this list as a “thank goodness they’re covering this stuff!” list, but the people who created the list are using it to try to spread fear and misinformation.

AISD elementary and middle schools are each holding information sessions for parents to learn more about the revised K-8 human sexuality & responsibility curriculum. Please attend to show your support for comprehensive sex ed that’s inclusive of the needs of LGBTQIA+ students and to make sure you have information straight from the source to help shut down these misinformation campaigns by anti-LGBTQ groups.

If you need a reminder of just some of the reasons why comprehensive sex ed is so important for students of all ages, click here.

And when people tell you you should “Opt Out and Sit Out” of sex ed, just say you choose to Opt In and Stand Together with AISD and LGBTQ students.

It’s up to all of us to Get Informed & Get Involved. You can learn more about how you can get informed and involved at our private Facebook group or on our public Facebook page.

Learn more from the AISD website and from your school administration.


How Can I Make My School LGBTQ Inclusive?

How to Make Classrooms More LGBTQ Inclusive

In the Informed Parents of Austin Facebook Group, the question comes up a lot about how parents and teachers can make sure that they are helping create a safe and inclusive learning environment for LGBTQ students.

I wish I could take credit for having a fabulous list of suggestions, but the truth is there are amazing organizations and writers covering this exact subject on a regular basis. In fact, GLSEN has an entire section of their website dedicated to the most granular level of inclusion topics for educators and you can find them all right here.

Since parents and teachers are some of the busiest people in the world, I’m going to do some cherry-picking of the easiest and most turn-key tips that you can put in place right away. I do encourage you to take a deep dive into the materials I link to though since many of us who are CIS-gender & hetero allies often aren’t aware of the level of discrimination present in even the most seemingly “everyday” parts of the education system.

Read more

Get Informed and Involved In Your School District

Get Informed and Involved In Your School District

On February 25th, Austin ISD’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on a revised human sexuality curriculum scope and sequence which would finally guarantee students across the district access to science-based, comprehensive sex-ed that is inclusive of LGBTQ students.

The fight is far from over though as the board will be voting on the final lessons plans in May or June. Be sure to follow our Facebook Page & Facebook Group to learn how you can help support us at these important meetings.

Since that meeting, we have received many requests from parents in other school districts all around Texas, and across the country, who want to know if Informed Parents of Austin can help them get comprehensive, inclusive sex ed and LGBTQ inclusion policies in their school districts.

Yes, and no.

Yes, we can provide you with a toolkit of all the important things we’ve learned these past couple of years so you can hit the ground running and start getting parents in your community Informed and Involved today.

But, no – we can’t do the work for you. The only thing that made this change a reality was local parents showing up and doing the work. Whether writing letters to the school board or showing up at SHAC meetings, there is no short cut. As much as I would love to show up to all of your district’s board meetings, the trustees from each district only want to hear from parents and guardians in their district.

The good news: the work itself is not “hard.” Sure, you may have to show up to a meeting for a couple hours once a month, but if you can make time for a Netflix binge night, you can make time to ensure that all students in your school district have a health curriculum that helps keep them mentally and physically safe and healthy.

We’re in the process of working on our toolkit now, so sign up below if you would like to be notified as pieces are added and be sure to follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook group. (Please note that due to an increased level of questionable group requests, we are being extra diligent in our screening.)

In the meantime, go to Google and search your district’s School Board and SHAC meeting dates as well as your school’s Campus Advisory Council meeting dates and put them on your calendar. Look up their public comment policies and get comfortable speaking for two minutes in support of ALL students in your district. Don’t worry, our toolkit will have lots of talking points to help get you started.

Thanks for your interest and thanks for all you do to support ALL students in your district.


Why Austin ISD Students Deserve Comprehensive Sex Ed

Why Austin ISD Students Deserve Comprehensive Sex Ed

Austin ISD is currently evaluating a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum for 3rd-8th grade students. Unfortunately there are groups that are actively trying to spread misinformation to raise concerns with parents who are simply trying to get informed.

We’ve been actively involved in this ongoing discussions for over a year and are excited that finally all parents and community members are having an opportunity to weigh in with their opinions and questions about the scope and sequence of the topics that will be covered in the new curriculum.

Here is some general information about the whys and hows of the process as well as some reasons that we feel comprehensive, inclusive human sexuality and responsibility lessons are so important, even in elementary school.

Read more