Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol. Photo by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Dear AASLH Community,

We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting and hope you have already registered to join us in Austin this year. We have a wonderful program pulled together and hundreds of your colleagues will be there.

The Texas State Legislature has called a special session this summer. Depending on the actions or decisions coming out of this session, there may be some in our community who have concerns about attending this year’s conference. The following points provide additional detail on how decisions before the special session could impact our conference this year.

Background Information

  • The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that would compel some people to use public restrooms that do not correspond to their gender identity.[1]
  • The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, September 6-9, embraces the individualistic spirit of the City of Austin and the State of Texas, and celebrates our national journey toward diversity and inclusion.
  • Our conference theme, “I AM History,” emphasizes the relevance of the past and the growth that can come from turning obstacles into opportunities.

AASLH Values Statements

  • AASLH is committed to inclusive practices and opposes discrimination of any type. Our local partners who manage the venues where we will be meeting and holding events support non-discriminatory legislation that reflects the inclusive nature of Austin. AASLH will continue to work closely with all our local hosts to make sure that we can hold an annual meeting that reflects our values of diversity and inclusion.

AASLH Action Steps

  • If the bill currently being discussed passes through the Texas legislature, preventing municipalities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances designed to protect transgender people, AASLH will work to find alternative arrangements for meeting participants who are affected.
  • We will use conference sessions, pop-up exhibits and discussion space, and other avenues to discuss the impact of any discriminatory legislation that may be introduced that may affect AASLH member organizations, individual members, and our visitors. We would like to open a dialog on how we can advocate and/or prepare ourselves and our institutions.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office at info@aaslh.org or (615) 320-3203.


John Dichtl
President and CEO of the American Association for State and Local History


[1] https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/21/amid-special-session-threat-house-eyes-bathroom-restrictions-schools/

Accessed June 28, 2017

Note: Per mediabiasfactcheck.com, The Texas Tribune has a rating of: LEAST BIASED, which means: These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes).  The reporting is factual and usually sourced.  These are the most credible media sources. Their factual reporting received a rating of: HIGH

 The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit media organization based in Austin, Texas. Its website and content in various delivery platforms serves as an alternative news source for Texas, with a goal of supplementing mainstream media sources.