update 06/14/17

Governor Abbott has called for a special session to continue pushing for an anti-transgender bathroom ban.

Chuck Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Equality Texas

“On the heels of the recently-concluded 85th Legislative ‘Session of Oppression,’ during which Texas lawmakers passed egregious laws targeting LGBTQ people, women, and immigrants, it is extremely disappointing that Governor Greg Abbott is calling legislators back to pass an anti-transgender bathroom bill.

Governor Abbott is letting the lieutenant governor set the agenda to push for a morally bankrupt, manufactured problem that will cause billions of dollars of damage to our economy. The lieutenant governor and his longtime business partner Steven Hotze, whose group Conservative Republicans of Texas has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, have been pushing discrimination and hate of LGBTQ people as one of their primary objectives for years.

Any such bathroom or so-called ‘privacy’ legislation that targets transgender Texans – an already vulnerable population – for unequal treatment will put innocent adults and children in harm’s way. It is unconscionable.

Lt. Gov. Patrick has spent most of 2016 and 2017 grandstanding on this issue, cyncially expressing fake outrage and misrepresenting the facts to manipulate Texans into fear, simply because they have not had the chance to meet our fellow transgender Texans. These are traits unworthy of any person who holds public office.

There is no middle ground on discrimination. We cannot tolerate any effort that seeks to demonize, stigmatize, and endanger our transgender family members, friends, coworkers, students, and neighbors. We will not give up in our efforts to prevent the passage and enactment of such a dangerous and immoral law.”

Lou Weaver, Transgender Programs Coordinator

“Transgender Texans, like all Texans, need to use public facilities without fear for their safety or security.  Any bathroom bill will roll back decades-old policies, laws, and perfectly functioning social norms that ensure that transgender people have access to restrooms appropriate to their gender.  All parents are concerned about the safety of their children, but the lieutenant governor is exploiting that parental instinct to attack a vulnerable community, subjecting transgender children and adults to harm when they pose no risk to others.  These kind of laws are unenforceable without massive police intrusion on privacy rights, and they create an expensive liability for businesses and educators.”

Update 05/31/17: With the House and Senate misaligned at the end of the legislative session, Texas Governor Abbott has threatened to call an additional special session and may choose to continue debate on anti-transgender bathroom ban legislation. Equality Federation, Equality Texas and a broad coalition of business leaders and Texas families are calling on him not to reopen the issue.

Over the weekend a group of Texas legislators pushed through two discriminatory efforts that, if signed by the Governor, could impact the economy of the state and cause harm to LGBTQ people and their families. In a cynical move, because anti-LGBTQ discrimination is widely unpopular, politicians took action last Sunday night, when they thought fewer people would be watching.

If signed by the governor, these laws would have a negative impact on many children in Texas. One of the bills permits discrimination against LGBTQ and other prospective foster and adoptive parents and allows youth in foster care to be subjected to the discredited practice of anti-LGBTQ conversion “therapy.” The second policy, written as an amendment to another bill, targets transgender students for discrimination and stigmatization.

Fran Hutchins, Deputy Director of Equality Federation said, “It’s heartbreaking to see adult politicians targeting children and families, leaving them vulnerable for discrimination. These actions are out of step with the values of fairness and opportunity that Texans and Americans hold dear.”

For the past few months hundreds of LGBTQ people and their families and friends, led by Equality Federation member Equality Texas, have rallied at the State House and shared their stories to try to stop these discriminatory bills.

“No amount of discrimination is acceptable. There is no middle ground. All discrimination is bad, full stop. Targeting some of the most vulnerable children in our state is abhorrent, shameful, and disgraceful. The Texas lawmakers of the 85th legislative session are on the wrong side of history. No matter how upset or scared our LGBTQ friends and families are feeling Equality Texas wants you to know that we stand with you; and we will fight to protect you,” said Chuck Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Equality Texas.

Follow the these and other pieces of legislation at equalityfederation.org/lac and equalitytexas.org.

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Mark Snyder

Mark Snyder is the Director of Communications for Equality Federation, and he wishes you a wonderful day. Please share this post with your friends and family.

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