Texas Approves Proposal Targeting Transgender Students

Rep. Moody said, "This bill now hurts kids by exclusion and discrimination".

Abortion rights groups, civil rights lawyers and LGBT organizations have also renewed pledges to take the state to court this summer following a whirlwind weekend in which the Republican-controlled Legislature pushed new anti-abortion bills, a religious objections bill and a so-called "bathroom bill" closer to Abbott's desk before lawmakers adjourn May 29. If the student "does not wish" to do that, they would have to use a single-stall bathroom and changing facility instead.

Opposition to a school voucher program is strong in the House, whose members voted overwhelmingly earlier this session to block any public funds from going to ESAs or similar initiatives. "White. Colored. I was living through that era ... bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now", she said. Schools must have a "single occupancy" facility, for students who do not want to do that.

Some 60 percent of transgender Americans say they have avoided using a public restroom out of fear of violence or confrontation, according to a survey published past year by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The Texas House on Monday also cleared a "bathroom bill" reminiscent of one that caused a national uproar past year in North Carolina, although less far-reaching. "The House had originally budgeted a $1.5 billion boost for public schools, and with the promise of $530 million, the Senate went from offering little extra funding for public schools to meeting the House partway.Kathy Miller, head of the Texas Freedom Network, said the amendment was not the compromise measure its supporters claimed.In issuing his ultimatum on Wednesday, Patrick said he wanted the House to move on SB 6 or attach the language from Simmons" bill onto other legislation.

"I want to talk to you a little bit about history because I've lived through the separate but equal period", Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, told the floor in a passionate speech against the amendment.

By a final vote of 21-10, state senators agreed with their counterparts in the Texas House of Representatives that society should continue to make room for adoption and foster care services associated with a religious tradition, whether Christian or Muslim.

Moody countered by stating that transgender students tend to be the victims of bullying and sex crimes in bathrooms, not perpetrators, to which Paddie remarked that the goal of the bill is to provide equal protection to all, including transgender students. The bill will pass through to the Senate after House approval. "Gov. Abbott has said he would demand action on this in a special session, and the House chose to dispose of the issue in this way", Strauss said.

"This is meant to be respectful, fair, and protective", said State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angelton, the author of the original bill.

As in North Carolina, the business community has been a major part of the backlash to Patrick's efforts. It would cover Texas public schools, not all bathrooms in publicly owned buildings.

Legal experts who oppose the bill warn the proposal would put Texas public schools in a no win situation. "Didn't he notice what happened in North Carolina?".

Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, ridiculed the idea that the bathroom amendment was somehow a compromise, saying: "T$3 here can be no compromise on discrimination. This is not about a class of children or transgender children", Paddie said, adding that the language prevents a school from disclosing intimate details about a student.

  • Salvatore Jensen