Recently, President Obama spoke publicly about “advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals” on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Texas, meanwhile, decided to use this day to declare that they will be joining the likes of North Carolina and Mississippi.
Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, had this to say: “JFK wanted to send a man to the moon. Obama wants to send a man to the women’s restroom. We must get our country back on track.”
Texas officials then made it known that the state would be the forefront of efforts to fight against the President’s promotions of rights for transgender people.
Abbot said to delegates last week at the GOP state convention: “Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues. I want you to know, I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are going to fight back.”
The chair of Transgender Education Network of Texas, Brandon Beck, said this: “We have been swept up and are being used in a political game and a lot of fear-mongering is going on around our identity. It’s not unlike the civil rights movement in the 60s around race but now the identity piece that’s being used is gender identity.”
The 32-page long platform adopted at the Texas GOP convention last week show that lawmakers in the state are seeking to pass a bill similar to North Carolina’s Asanti-LGBT, anti-trans, HB2. This is far from the first time Texas lawmakers have tried this, in fact there was a failed bill put forward last year which would have allowed students to sue school districts over the “mental anguish” of sharing a bathroom or locker room with a trans person.
The platform states: “We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex.” It also states that the Texas Republican party opposes “all policies and curriculum that teach alternate lifestyles including homosexuality, transgender and other non-traditional lifestyles as normal”.
It doesn’t stop there, though, as it is calling on the governor to overturn the SCOTUS marriage equality ruling and even maintains support for the barbaric practice of “conversion therapy”.
Director of public policy at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, had this to say about the proposed changes, as well as touching on the current laws in other states: “A lot of the really anti-trans rhetoric that we’re hearing coming from the right isn’t rooted in any sort of real problem that exists, it’s more rooted in needing to rile up their base that they previously riled up with anti-marriage equality rhetoric.”
“And now that that debate has been settled by the supreme court they’re looking for a new issue and I think that they’ve found that in marginalising and victimising transgender people, who really at the end of the day just want to go to the bathroom.”
Despite threats from the Obama administration that states with anti-LGBT laws will be at risk of losing billions in federal funding, the Texas lieutenant governor,Don Patrick seems determined to see this law (or other, similar laws) through.
He said to press: “Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.”
We will have to see how this all plays out, as there few state legislative bodies are in season for the remainder of this year, and lawmakers are also waiting to see the true costs of these laws by watching states such as North Carolina. Their anti-LGBT law has already cost them millions of dollars in lost jobs and tourism.