Activists rap Beto O'Rourke for refusing to talk about sex-worker rights at San Antonio event

Activist group Buckle Bunnies said they were invited to the fundraiser, but were told the campaign wouldn't present their question about whether O'Rourke supports decriminalizing sex work.

click to enlarge Buckle Bunnies organizers offering emergency contraceptives, Narcan, and fetanyl test strips during O'Rourke's fundraising event in San Antonio on Monday. - Meradith Garcia
Meradith Garcia
Buckle Bunnies organizers offering emergency contraceptives, Narcan, and fetanyl test strips during O'Rourke's fundraising event in San Antonio on Monday.
A Texas activist group is expressing disappointment with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke over his alleged refusal to answer a question about sex-worker rights during a Monday night fundraiser in San Antonio.

In an Instagram post, Buckle Bunnies — a self-described group of "queer folks" passionate about reproductive justice — said they were invited by event organizers to attend the Texas Democrats' "This is Texas" event at the Freight Gallery. However, the group argues that the campaign declined to answer a question they submitted about whether O'Rourke supports decriminalization of sex work.

"[T]exas sex workers are funding abortions, building community, writing policy, and doing the heavy lifting — all while existing under violent legislation. We have worked tirelessly, unpaid, and against extreme risks," the group said in its post, shared Tuesday. "Beto O‘Rourkes’ [sic] refusal to recognize our collective power and our rights was deeply disrespectful to not only our organization, but to sex workers in Texas who deserve to be heard."

According to the group's Instagram post, organizers told Buckle Bunnies the event would be a "great opportunity" to spread its pro-reproductive rights message and services, which they did at a table set up at the gallery, offering emergency contraceptives and fentanyl test strips.

Organizers also allowed the group — which is founded and led by sex workers — to pre-write a question to present to O'Rourke during the roundtable portion of the event, hosted by YouTuber and LGBTQIA+ activist Eugene Lee Yang.
"Public health professionals and reproductive justice experts agree that abortion criminalization does not prevent abortion, but can actually make abortion unsafe," Buckle Bunnies said they wrote in their question for O'Rourke. "These experts say the same thing about sex work criminalization. Sex workers and abortion seekers of Texas have long been the target of legislation that denies us our bodily autonomy. In your effort to build reproductive justice throughout Texas, can we expect you to take a stance on sex work decriminalization?"

However, Buckle Bunnies said they never had the opportunity to make the inquiry. Instead, an organizer told them an hour later that the campaign wouldn't address the question during the roundtable, according to the group's Instagram post.

Buckle Bunnies and the O'Rourke campaign were both unavailable for immediate comment. The post on Buckle Bunnies' Instagram account has garnered more than 2,500 likes since Tuesday.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.