Monday, May 22, 2017

A Determined Texas Legislature is Intent on Punishing Trans People

Texas' “bathroom bill” is back on the conservative Christian menu. In February a measure that would have restricted all transgender people to use only public facilities consistent with their sex at birth sailed through the Texas Senate. However, the measure stalled in the House. Late Sunday night proponents used an amendment to tack bathroom limits onto a separate, unrelated bill covering school emergency operation plans for natural disasters.

Rep. Chris Paddie (a Republican from the East Texas town of Marshall) authored the amendment, saying it has “absolutely no intent” to discriminate to which I say “bullshit.” Transgender students at public schools would not be permitted to use the bathroom of their choice but could be directed to separate, single-occupancy restrooms. That isolates and marginalizes kids.

The AP reports that Paddie claims: “It's absolutely about child safety. This is about accommodating all kids.” Safety from what exactly?

Gov. Greg Abbott has said he wants to sign a discriminatory bill into law. But House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio, has been even more vocal in opposition. Strays says that it could hurt a Texas economy that has been among the country's strongest in recent years. Straus now claims that the amended measure, limited to public schools, would allow the state to avoid boycotts that were so costly to North Carolina.

The argument is porous. Limiting the damage to the state's most vulnerable and fragile residents isn't limiting at all. This will get signed into law and is headed to the courts. Meanwhile, Republicans have the same percentage of trans children as Democrats. Eventually this might bite some of them in the ass.

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