Sunday, 22 October, 2017

ACLU of Texas Comment of Passage of Anti-LGBT Legislation

Steve Phelps | 23 May, 2017, 12:51

Opponents called the bill discriminatory and unsafe for transgender youth. That's why the final victims of this months-long debate are not local businesses, or athletic events, or the tourism industry - or even, for that matter, transgender adults. Under the Texas measure, transgender students at public and charter schools would not be permitted to use the bathroom of their choice, but could be directed to separate, single-occupancy restrooms. Texas schools that now allow trans kids to use the bathroom of the gender they identity with would have to roll back that policy.

"Bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now", Thompson said. Federal judges this spring found intentional discrimination in the state's voter ID law and Republican-drawn voting maps, and last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a sweeping Texas anti-abortion law that prompted more than half of the state's abortion clinics to close. "It will also allow faith-based providers to re-engage with Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS), bringing the expertise and resources of Catholic Charities to the aid of some of our most desperate and needy children". "This provides an accommodation for all students", insisted Rep. Chris Paddie on Sunday.

LGBTQ advocates have argued that the restrictions placed on transgender students could potentially result in teachers or administrators involuntarily "outing" the children to their classmates when they require those students to use facilities that don't match their outward gender presentation.

Democratic lawmakers disagreed. Democratic Senator Carlos Uresti said the "best interest of the child should be our No. 1 priority".

Deirdre Doughty, mother of a transgender girl, was at the legislative session Sunday and told CNN affiliate TV station KXAN the bill could put her child in danger.

"This amendment was more about using trans kids as a negotiating tool at a contentious point in the session than about making kids safer", Rep. Celia Israel, a leader in opposing the bill said. "As if these kids didn't already have enough to deal with".

In a statement released ahead of the House vote, Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal said the LGBT legal advocacy group would "be on the case before the next school bell rings" if Texas lawmakers "forced discrimination into Texas law".

The Texas Legislature advanced the bathroom bill after Patrick threatened to return lawmakers to a special session if Senate Bill 6, a standalone bathroom bill, and Senate Bill 2, a property tax bill, weren't passed, according to the Texas Tribune.

"Gov. Abbott's hope is that the House and the Senate will agree on a measure that, at a minimum, protects the privacy of students in locker rooms and restrooms, and he will continue to work with members of both chambers to achieve that goal", said John Wittman, a spokesman for the governor.

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