Concerns About SAA 2019 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas

July 24, 2017—The SAA Council currently is discussing legislation pending in Texas that would restrict transgender persons to using restrooms and dressing rooms that match their sex assigned at birth. SAA is contracted to hold its Annual Meeting in Austin in August 2019.

As noted in a letter from SAA Executive Director Nancy Beaumont to the chief executive officer of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau for his use in testifying regarding the legislation:

“SAA is made up of a diverse group of members, people who are parents, friends, family members, and colleagues; people of different ethnicities, abilities, and ages; people who are women, men, transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer. Furthermore, our members’ core beliefs involve creating a safe and inclusive workforce and an archival record that documents and preserves all stories. SB6 not only violates the well-being of our own members visiting or living in Texas, but impairs the ability of a historically marginalized group to tell its own story.

“The seemingly trivial but necessary act of using a bathroom should not result in fear, violence, trauma, and humiliation, which is the experience that many transgender people have expressed when forced to use bathrooms that don’t match their identity. It’s time to listen to the transgender community. This bill brings harm to transgender people and attacks their dignity. It is discriminatory and intentionally dismissive of the rights of an entire group of citizens. And as archivists know, when one community of people is devalued, silenced, and erased, we all suffer from the loss.”  

In light of these concerns about the proposed Texas legislation, SAA is exploring options for relocating the 2019 Annual Meeting.

4 Comment(s) to the "Concerns About SAA 2019 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas"
Kath says:
This bill violates the

This bill violates the dignity and causes harm to transgender individuals. 

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Kath says:
By undermining their dignity,

By undermining their dignity, this measure harms transgender people. | Dallas photo booth

98337 says:
While the city has much to

While the city has much to offer in terms of cultural and historical sites, it is also important to recognize the challenges that marginalized communities may face in attending the meeting due to Texas' controversial political climate and policies. I heard when I went to commercial carpet cleaning company that it is commendable that SAA has acknowledged these concerns and has taken steps to address them, including offering travel scholarships and organizing sessions focused on diversity and inclusion. 

KateBowers says:
Support our colleagues

I applaud the effort to make sure my colleagues are not subjected to harassment, intimidation, or even arrest for the simple human act of using a restroom.

I fear our meeting location choices may become ever more limited.