"We can keep discrimination out of Texas."

Take Action: Stop Texas Bill Targeting Trans Students

The Texas legislature just came back into session — and immediately started targeting transgender students.

On Friday, a key Senate committee voted 8-1 for S.B. 3, a bill that would bar transgender people from using single-sex facilities that match their gender identity in government buildings, including schools. The bathroom ban is championed by well-known zealot Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who previously suggested that the Pulse massacre was a divine judgement upon us ungodly queers.

Not unlike Patrick, the bathroom ban is cruel and discriminatory. It is also almost definitely illegal, would cost Texas’ economy big time (due to boycotts, the state would lose an estimated 60,0000 jobs in the tourism industry alone), and serves no purpose except to humiliate transgender students who simply want to go to class and learn like everyone else. Trans students already face staggering rates of harassment: 77% of people who were openly trans as K-12 students report being harassed or discriminated against in school, and 24% report being physically attacked.

Texas politicians could be spending their time making sure that trans kids aren’t bullied out of school. Instead, they’re doing the bullying themselves.

Trans Texans and their families are fighting back. Rachel Gonzalez and her seven year-old trans daughter, Libby, waited in line for hours to testify about how dangerous it would be to force Libby to use the boys bathroom. They’re not alone: according to the Texas Observer, more than 250 people showed up to testify on Friday — the “overwhelming majority” of whom spoke out against the bathroom ban.

The voices of trans young people are moving the needle. Surprising many, Republican House Speaker Joe Straus came out strongly against the bathroom ban, saying “I’m disgusted by all this… I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.” Anti-trans bills are moving quickly through the Senate, but Straus’ opposition means there’s a chance to stop them in the House — but only if we dial up the pressure.

Here’s how you can help:

  • If you’re a person of faith who supports trans justice, join the Texas Believes coalition.

Photo credit: Equality Texas.

Sejal Singh is a columnist at Feministing, where she writes about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice. Sejal is a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Know Your IX, a national campaign to end gender-based violence in schools, where she has led several state and federal campaigns for student survivors' civil rights. In the past, Sejal led LGBT rights campaigns for the Center for American Progress. Today, she is a student at Harvard Law School and a frequent speaker on LGBTQ rights and civil rights in schools.

Sejal Singh is a law student and columnist at Feministing, writing about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice.

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