Toilet Flushing: Adiós TX SB3

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August 17, 2017

In a stunning move Tuesday night, the Texas House and Senate ended the month-long special session a full day early. That wise conclusion lifted a cloud of fear from thousands of Texas families because it ended the imminent threat of “bathroom bills” that were pending in both chambers of the Texas legislature.

These threats lifted because, together, we stood up against the lies and hate spewed at and about our community, especially by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

From the beginning of this year, he has been insisting that passing an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” must be a top priority, ignoring the real needs of our Texas communities for legislation to expand healthcare access, fix the school finance system, and enhance job opportunities.

Unwisely following Lt. Gov. Patrick’s lead, Gov. Abbott included a discriminatory “bathroom bill" among his 20 priority issues when he called the special session. Now he has seen many of the state’s most influential business leaders reject the idea.  They know that discrimination is bad business. 

For our state to thrive in these competitive times, Texas needs all of our students to be learning in welcoming environments, and our state as a whole to welcome everyone’s talents and energy.

Having fended off multiple anti-transgender bills during the regular session, it was a sickening prospect to face more in the special session.  But, we did as we do when our community is under attack.  We banded with dedicated coalition partners.

They say everything is bigger in Texas and I would have to say that the size and scope of our resistance coalition was just as big as Texas. We are thankful for the leadership of many organizations from across many communities and issues—including LGBTQ advocates like our good friends at Equality Texas, the Human Rights Campaign, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, PFLAG and Freedom for All Americans. Of course, the ACLU – our partners in being prepared to sue if a bad bill made it through, and in determined advocacy of many kinds. And, too, the extraordinary health rights champions at Planned Parenthood, the immigrant defenders at LULAC, labor rights groups and so many others who mobilized families, clergy, educators, business leaders, and a huge wave of grassroots supporters.

Together, we made sure that Texas lawmakers heard loud and clear that We Object to anti-transgender discrimination, and that it is simply un-Texan to press for this type of mean-spirited, wrong-headed legislation.

Now, transgender youth and their parents, teachers and other caregivers, as well as transgender adults in all walks of life, can breathe easier.  We hope they all will feel a little safer, knowing that a large, caring community wants them to be able to live open and authentic lives right here at home in Texas.

Lastly, our entire Dallas-based Lambda Legal team – savoring this relief while girding for the next challenges – wants to assure everyone in our inspiring, beautiful LGBTQ community throughout our beloved state, and everyone who has felt the cruel legislative targeting of women, immigrants, people of color and those of lower socio-economic status, some who are LGBTQ and others who care about LGBTQ people, that we will continue to stand up and fight for you from the school house and the state house to the court house, because the eyes of Lambda Legal are steady upon you.