SCOTUS sends trans student case back to 4th Circuit

Lisa Keen | Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

Gavin Grimm

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, March 6, vacated a federal appeals court ruling in favor of a transgender high school student and directed the lower court to reconsider its earlier ruling.

The Supreme Court order in Gloucester v. G.G. came in response to “the guidance document” issued by the departments of Education and Justice on Feb. 22.

That document was a “Dear Colleague Letter” from two acting officials of the DOJ and DOE, advising public school officials that the Trump administration was “withdrawing the statements of policy and guidance” in two letters from Obama administration officials.

The Obama administration’s DOJ and DOE letters had advised schools receiving federal funding that Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination in education based on “sex” included discrimination based on “gender identity.”

The Trump administration letter did not disagree with that assessment, but noted that it would “more completely consider the legal issues involved.” An official in the Solicitor General’s office forwarded the Trump DOJ-DOE letter to the Supreme Court and the following day, the Supreme Court clerk asked both parties in the case to say “how this case should proceed.”

Joshua Block, the ACLU attorney representing the transgender student who is the plaintiff in the case, identified as Gavin Grimm), said the high court should proceed with the case as planned. Attorneys for the Gloucester, Va., school district that appealed the case agreed the court should proceed to hear their appeal but suggested it postpone argument until President Trump could appoint a new Solicitor General to file the government’s position on the case.

It also suggested the Supreme Court could vacate the Fourth Circuit decision and remand it, arguing that the Obama administration letters had been the “basis” of the Fourth Circuit decision.

LGBT legal activists did not seem at all surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to take that latter course of action and all expressed optimism about the case’s eventual outcome.

“The Supreme Court acted today consistently with its ordinary protocol of allowing lower courts to fully address an issue before stepping in,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “While it is impossible to predict outcomes, I am optimistic that the lower court in this case will resolve this matter in favor of Gavin just as courts across the country have done in similar Title IX cases brought on behalf of other transgender students.”

“Given the importance of the issue to transgender students, we hoped the court would keep the case,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter. “But their ordinary practice is to give the lower courts an opportunity to consider an issue in the first instance.”

Minter said that, while it is true the Supreme Court took the appeal initially even though it was in a preliminary stage, “the Fourth Circuit had fully weighed in on the legal issues….”

“The Fourth Circuit’s decision below relied on the guidance and since the Department of Education has now withdrawn the guidance,” said Minter, “the Supreme Court is giving the Fourth Circuit an opportunity to rule directly on the statutory issue for the first time.”

The ACLU, which is representing Grimm, said it was “disappointed” the Supreme Court would not hear the case this term, but called Monday’s order “a detour, not the end of the road.”

“Nothing about today’s action changes the meaning of the law. Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination,” said ACLU lead attorney Joshua Block.

In urging the Supreme Court to proceed with the case as planned, Block argued that the Trump administration’s letter to public schools “makes resolution of that question more urgent than ever.” Further, said the ACLU, “the court will inevitably have to settle the question by clarifying the proper interpretation of Title IX….”

“Delaying resolution of that question will only lead to further harm, confusion, and protected litigation for transgender students and school districts across the country,” wrote Block. “Another few years of needless litigation would not help clarify the legal question facing the court, and it would impose enormous costs on individual students until the Court provides additional clarity.”

Delay of the case will certainly affect Gavin Grimm, who is currently a senior at Gloucester High School. But Lambda Legal’s national legal director Jon Davidson said similar cases in other circuits could percolate to the high court more swiftly.

In his lawsuit, Grimm v. Gloucester, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals voted 2-1 on April 19 that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 –which prohibits discrimination based on sex by federally funded educational institutions— also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. The majority’s ruling in Grimm came on preliminary motion requesting that he be able to use his public high school’s boys’ restrooms until his overall lawsuit can be resolved.

An 87-year-old Reagan-appointed federal district court judge had denied that motion, declaring Grimm to be a female and ruling that “sex” in Title IX does not include gender identity or sexual orientation. The Fourth Circuit panel reversed that decision, noting that the U.S. Department of Education had issued an opinion letter last year, saying Title IX requires “a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

The panel had sent the case back to the district court with instructions to reconsider the preliminary injunction based on the panel majority’s decision. But the Gloucester County School Board immediately appealed the panel’s decision to the full 4th Circuit. And in August, the Supreme Court agreed to stay the Fourth Circuit’s decision until the Supreme Court could decide whether to take the case for review.

Typically, the high court doesn’t take cases in a preliminary stage, but in October, it agreed to hear this appeal, specifically identifying two questions: One was a procedural issue involving whether a federal agency’s “unpublished letter” carries “the force of law;” the other was whether the departments’ interpretation of Title IX should “be given effect.”

Both parties in the case –as well as organizations on both sides of the argument—filed briefs. Oral argument was scheduled for March 28. Now the case will be reargued in front of the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Va.

The ACLU’s position is that the Gloucester School Board’s “sweeping new policy” that requires students to use the school restroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate (or use a “separate” restroom that is not labeled “girls” or “boys”) violates Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination based on “sex.”

The school district’s primary argument is that, when Congress passed Title IX, it intended the word “sex” to mean “nothing more than male and female, under the traditional binary conception of sex consistent with one’s birth or biological sex.” The U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of “sex” to include “gender identity,” it argued, amounted to creating new law.

The Trump DOJ-DOE letter on February 22 said its withdrawal of the previous guidelines “does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment.”

“All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment,” said the Trump administration letter. The Trump DOJ-DOE letter said the Obama administration guidance letters did not contain “extensive legal analysis or explain how [the letters’ position] is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.” And it added, “there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

The Supreme Court’s new order in the case comes at a time with the U.S. Attorney General, head of the Department of Justice, is in a very public battle to keep his jobs amid allegations that he lied to Congress and had inappropriate, perhaps, illegal communications with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Attorney General Sessions, then a U.S. senator from Alabama, was a prominent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

It also comes as the Trump administration is struggling to find a new Solicitor General. Prominent attorney Miguel Estrada told the National Law Journal last week, “I would never accept a job that requires Senate confirmation….” The reaction was an apparent reflection of Estrada’s feelings about having to withdraw his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, following a Democratic filibuster. Earlier, Proposition 8 attorney Charles Cooper announced he did not want to be considered for the job.

© 2017 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Brownsville Democrat joins the forces of evil, voices support for bathroom bill

Sen. Eddie Lucio

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., a Democrat from Brownsville, today came out in support of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrrick’s and Sen. Lois Kolkurst’s bathroom bill, aka SB 6, according to a report by The Texas Tribune.

SB 6 would prohibit transgender people from using the appropriate public restroom facilities, and prohibits local governments or agencies from passing rules allowing otherwise. (The Texas Tribune explains exactly SB 6 says here.)

A hearing on the legislation is set for Tuesday, March 7, before the Senate State Affairs Committee,

Patrick parade Lucio before reports at a press conference to brag about having a Democrat supporting his hateful piece of legislation. Lucio, described as “a devout Catholic,” has been at odds with his Democratic colleagues on other “social issues,” like for example, abortion.

Lucio said at the press conference that “Children, youth and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity and respect without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security from other students and parents,” Texas Tribune reported.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who gets credit for pushing through his state’s bathroom bill — HB 2 — was also at the press conference. He urged Texas lawmakers not to listen to business leaders who say that SB 6 could damage the state economically, and claimed HB2 hasn’t hurt North Carolina at all.

(Others beg to differ with Forest’s claims that HB 2 hasn’t hurt his state. The Institute for Southern Studies, in a Jan. 6, 2017, article in its newsletter “Facing South,” estimated that the law has, so far, cost North Carolina about $560 million.)

Also at the press conference today, Patrick announced that he is launching “Operation 1 Million Voices” to build support for his hateful anti-transgender bill among Christians.

—  Tammye Nash

Supreme Court sends Gavin Grimm case back to lower court

Gavin Grimm

The Supreme Court vacated a Virginia court’s ruling in favor of transgender teen Gavin Grimm after the Trump administration reversed Obama administration guidance to public schools on transgender bathroom use.

The Appeals Court ruled in favor of Grimm, a 17-year-old student, relying on Obama administration guidance that said transgender students should use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Now the court must decide if Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, extends to transgender people. If so, the lower court would again find in Grimm’s favor.

The Supreme Court was to hear the case in a few weeks. By the time the case returns to the Supreme Court, the court sill probably have at least one more conservative justice.

“Nothing about today’s action changes the meaning of the law,” Joshua Block, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s LGBT Project, said. “Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination.” Block is Grimm’s lead attorney.

“The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to end the painful discrimination currently faced by tens of thousands of transgender students nationwide,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “The position previously taken by the Departments of Education and Justice lifted up best practices for K-12 schools to improve the lives of students and provide a clear path to opportunity.”

—  David Taffet

Trans Pride Initiative holding vigil for slain community members

Trans Pride Initiative is inviting everyone to participate in a Community Candlelight Memorial and Rally for Trans Inclusiveness on Friday, March 3, from 7-8 p.m. at Reverchon Park Recreation Center, 3400 Maple Ave.

“We invite you to celebrate the love and lives of our transgender sisters and brother we’ve lost this year,” organizer Shannon Walker wrote on the Facebook page announcing the event. “We are getting off to a horrible start in 2017, so community awareness and support is desperately needed at this urgent time.”

Walker said the vigil will be live-streamed on Facebook so that those unable to attend can participate through the Trans Pride Initiative Facebook page, and “say their names:”

• Mesha Caldwell: 41-year-old hairstylist and makeup artist in Canton, Miss., found shot to death on Jan. 4, near a road just outside the Canton city limits. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports misgendered Caldwell.

• Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow: 28-year-old customer service agent for Lawrence & Schiller Teleservices, found dead in her apartment in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 6. She was a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and was a member of the Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies group. A member of that group suggested she may have been killed as early as Jan. 1. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports misgendered Wounded Arrow.

• JoJo Striker: 23-year-old Toledo, Ohio woman found in an empty garage on Feb. 8. She died of a single gunshot wound to her torso, and police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports and statements from her family misgendered Striker.

• KeKe Collier: 24-year-old Chicago resident was killed Tuesday, Feb. 21, while sitting in a car with a man in the Englewood neighborhood where she lived. She died of multiple gunshot wounds. Initial reports in the Chicago Tribune identified Collier — also known as Tiara Richmond — by the first name “Donnell.” She was the second trans woman murdered in Chicago within six months; T.T. Safore, 28, was found dead, her throat cut, Sept. 11 near railroad tracks in the West Garfield Park area.

• Chyna Gibson: 31-year-old, also known as Chyna Doll Dupree, currently living in California, was shot to death Feb. 25 in New Orleans, where she had gone to visit family for Mardi Gras. Witnesses reported hearing as many as 10 gunshots. Gibson was a popular entertainer on the House/Ball and pageant circuits, and memorials for her were held in Dallas and in Houston.

• Ciara McElveen: 21-year-old New Orleans resident murdered Feb. 27, just two days after Chyna Gibson was shot to death. A witness said that a man stabbed McElveen in his car, then pulled her from the car, slammed her head on the pavement and ran over her before leaving the scene. Initial media reports misgendered McElveen.

• Jaquarrius Holland: 18-year-old Monroe, La., resident was shot to death during a verbal altercation on Feb. 19, but was initially misgendered by media reports. Monroe police have issued an arrest warrant for Malcom Derricktavious Harvey in connection with Holland’s death.

• Sean Ryan Hake: 23-year-old trans man, shot to death on Jan. 6 by a Sharon, Penn. police officers who were responding to a 9-11 domestic violence call at the home Hake shared with his mother. The Mercer County D.A.’s office opted not to file charges against the officers who shot Hake, saying that he was armed with a utility knife, had threatened his mother with the knife, was bleeding from his wrist, and then advanced on the officers with the knife, despite their warnings. Hake’s family has said they do not believe deadly force was warranted.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas protesters support trans students

The evening after President Trump issued an executive order allowing discrimination against transgender students in schools, about 150 people gathered in Belo Gardens across from the Earle Cabell  federal building to protest the order.

All of the speakers at the rally were transgender.

“We’re not going back in the closet,” Ethan Avanzino told the crowd. “We’re not going into the wrong restrooms.”

While Katie Sprinkle and Leslie McMurray were more political, Oliver Blumer and Mr. Black Trans Dallas just wanted the crowd to get to know them as people.

“I’m a man of trans experience,” Blumer told the crowd.

—  David Taffet

Transgender survey released

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling

The National Center for Transgender Equality recently released the largest study of the transgender community ever done.

Mara Kiesling, executive director of the NCTE, said she hoped for 10,000 people to respond. But they received almost 28,000 survey responses.

“That tells you something about the size of the community,” she said.

About 30 percent of the respondents identified as agender or gender fluid. “In general,” Kiesling said, “non-binary people experience the same violence and disrespect as transgender people.”

In Texas

The survey’s statistics show that 34 percent of trans people in Texas are living in poverty, higher than elsewhere in the country. Unemployment among the Texas trans community is four times the national average.

Some of the information from the survey just confirmed what she already knew, Kiesling said, calling Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick a bully who is putting children in the category of predators.

“If a child can’t use a bathroom at school, they can’t go to school,” she said. “And if you can’t use a bathroom at work, you can’t have a job.”

She said that should be used to shame Patrick into dropping his obsession with attacking the trans community. But, she acknowledged, “shame has never been a big part of his career.”

Kiesling said she hopes people in Texas will point out that former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a diehard supporter of that state’s infamous “bathroom bill,” was the only governor to lose a re-election last year and it was this same issue that lead to his defeat.

“You can’t use children this way,” she said.

The survey revealed other information about Texas that wasn’t good, either.

In Texas, 22 percent of respondents didn’t see a doctor when they needed to see one. Of those, 38 percent couldn’t afford to go to the doctor.

The survey looked into differences by state, but within the Texas stats, responses weren’t divided by city, and didn’t compare trans people living in cities with those in suburbs and rural areas. Kiesling said from anecdotal evidence, violence against trans people has been reported both in cities and rural areas and in some small towns, trans people do quite well. So she couldn’t generalize.

National statistics

Looking at the national statistics, violence and disrespect was reported in every aspect of trans people’s lives.

One in 10 who were out to their immediate families reported a family member was violent toward them because of their gender identity and 8 percent were kicked out of the house.

In school, those who were out or perceived as transgender were mistreated: 54 percent were verbally harassed, 24 percent were physically attacked and 13 percent were sexually assaulted. The abuse was so severe that 17 percent dropped out of school

At work, 30 percent of those with a job had been fired, denied a promotion or harassed during the previous year. Of those who were spiritual or religious, 19 percent were rejected by their religious community and left or were forced to leave.

One third of respondents have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives and 12 percent had been homeless during the last year. While 63 percent of Americans own their own homes, only 16 percent of the transgender population owns their own homes.

Trans people of color

Other forms of discrimination increase the impact on transgender people.

“If you’re facing transphobia and facing racism, have a disability or are worried about immigration status, the effects compound,” Kiesling said.

While overall results showed trans people twice as likely to live in poverty than the general American population, people of color were three times as likely to live in poverty. The unemployment rate among people of color was four times higher than the U.S. unemployment rate and the HIV rate was five times the U.S. rate.

Although insurance companies may no longer treat transgender as a pre-existing condition to deny coverage, as many as 25 percent of transgender people had trouble with their insurance over the past year because they were transgender.

Also distressing is that 40 percent of those surveyed said they had attempted suicide at some time during their lives, a rate nine times the population in general.

Yet, despite voter identification laws that make it harder for transgender people to vote, 76 percent reported they were registered compared to only 65 percent of the U.S. population in 2014. More than 54 percent reported voting in that election, compare to only 42 percent of the population that actually voted that year.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING: Trump rescinds guidelines protecting trans students

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, left, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Photo by Michael Lavers/Washington Blade)

 

Chris Johnson | Washington Blade
Courtesy National Gay Media Association

 

Despite pleas from parents of transgender children and LGBT employees, the Trump administration today (Tuesday, Feb. 22) rescinded Obama-era guidance to schools barring discrimination against transgender students and ensuring they have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Blade on Monday, “This is the first day of the president’s second month in office and he is now fully coming after LGBT people,” Keisling said. “I’m angry; I’m outraged. This is about kids who just want to go to school who just want to be themselves, and to hear the president a week or two ago talk about how supportive he is of LGBT people, it’s just outrageous that he’d go after trans kids this way.”

Removal of the guidance would fulfill a campaign promise from Trump, who pledged to rescind the guidance after it was issued, but still “protect everybody,” amid outcry from conservative-leaning states. The Trump administration would be moving to rescind the guidance shortly after the confirmation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Jointly issued in May under the Obama administration by the Justice Department and Education Department, the guidance asserts that denying transgender students access to the restroom in accordance with their gender identity violates the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Rescinding the guidance is consistent with a legal brief the Justice Department filed earlier this month in litigation against the guidance filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of 12 states. As a result of the litigation, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a preliminary injunction barring the administration from enforcing the guidance nationwide.

Although the Justice Department under former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch filed an appeal along with a request with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to limit the scope of the injunction to the 12 plaintiff states, the brief under Sessions withdraws that request and informs the federal appeals court the Trump administration is “currently considering how best to proceed in this appeal.”

Transgender advocates took the change in position at the Justice Department as a signal Trump would soon fulfill his campaign promise to reverse the guidance.

A flurry of letters were sent to the Trump administration calling for preservation of the guidance. One came from a quartet of pro-LGBT advocacy groups, one from nearly 800 parents of transgender youths and another from LGBT employees at the Education Department. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement to the Washington Blade the change in position at the Justice Department is “deeply disappointing.”

Other LGBT advocates over the course of the holiday weekend said they similarly heard the Justice Department and Education Department would act to rescind the guidance.

Kelly Love, a White House spokesperson, had no comment in response to the Washington Blade’s request to confirm the Trump administration would follow up on the Justice Department’s move and rescind the guidance.

“We have nothing to add to this report right now, but will keep you posted if anything changes,” Love said.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment. The Education Department didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment over the holiday weekend.

A decision to withdraw the guidance could be an initial signal of the Trump administration’s position in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court known as Gloucester County Schools v. G.G., which resulted from transgender student Gavin Grimm suing his high school to use the restroom consistent with his gender identity. The questions before the court are to evaluate the guidance and whether the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title IX applies to transgender students seeking to use the restroom in school consistent with their gender identity.

The Trump administration would be rescinding the guidance weeks after the White House issued a statement declaring Trump is “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights” and would preserve a separate order from President Obama barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.

Even if the U.S. government rescinds the guidance, transgender advocates have insisted students are still able to sue on their own under Title IX if they feel they’ve experienced discrimination as a result of their gender identity.

“It doesn’t take away trans kids’ rights,” Keisling said. “It’s Title IX that protects us, not Donald Trump or Attorney General Sessions agreeing with us on Title IX.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the Trump administration must affirm the guidance for transgender students must remain in place.

“Transgender young people face tragically high rates of discrimination and bullying, and they need a government that will stand up for them — not attack them,” Griffin said. “It’s shocking that this kind of harm would even be a subject of debate for the president. We call on Trump to immediately and permanently affirm the Obama Administration’s guidance and protect transgender students.”

—  Tammye Nash

NJ 9-year-old is first openly transgender Boy Scout

Joe Maldonado, a 9-year-old from New Jersey, has become the first openly transgender Boy Scout, according to this report by The Huffington Post. He joined a week after Boy Scouts of America announced the organization would accept transgender Scouts.

Joe, who has always been openly transgender, first tried to join BSA back in October. But some parents complained and a BSA official then told Joe’s mother, Kristie Maldonado, that trans boys weren’t allowed.

This week though, Pack Leader Kyle Hacker welcomed Joe by helping Joe put on his new Scout uniform and neckerchief, and teaching him the Cub Scout salute and oath. Hacker told the boy, “This means you are the same as Scouts all over the world.”

Joe said he was having fun and proud to be a Scout: “I’m accepted, and I’m actually in Boy Scouts.”

 

—  Tammye Nash

ACLU seeks to stay court order allowing healthcare providers to discriminate

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion Monday, Jan. 9, in the Northern District Court of Texas, asking the court stay the nationwide court order preventing the federal government from enforcing an Affordable Care Act regulation that protects transgender people and women from discrimination in healthcare.

The ACLU also asked the court to issue a formal ruling on its request to intervene in the lawsuit.

A group of states, led by Texas and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and a group of religiously-affiliated health care organizations who claim that Affordable Care Act regulations banning discrimination against transgender people and women could force healthcare providers to violate their personal religious beliefs. The plaintiffs in the case claim “they should be allowed to deny essential healthcare services and coverage to transgender people and women,” the ACLU says.

The ACLU originally moved to intervene on behalf of the ACLU of Texas and the River City Gender Alliance in September because the lawsuit “seeks to undermine critical anti-discrimination measures and to allow religion to be used to harm others, including by denying medical care,” according to an ACLU press release.

Federal Judge Reed O’Connor — the same judge that enjoined federal guidelines to school districts on interacting with transgender students — issued a preliminary injunction on Dec. 31 that halted enforcement of the ACA regulations just hours before it was to go into effect. The nationwide injunction restrains the government from enforcing the regulation to prevent public and private healthcare providers, including hospitals and healthcare centers, from discriminating against transgender people and women.

Such discrimination may include harassment, refusal to perform essential healthcare services like reproductive or gender-affirming care, and denials of insurance coverage for essential healthcare services, according to the ACLU.

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling said, “Religious liberty does not mean the right to discriminate or harm others. No one should live in fear of being turned away at a hospital because of who they are, and we’re ready to fight this decision sanctioning discrimination. We won’t sit idly by while women and transgender people continue to see their rights come under assault.”

Kate Parrish, president of the Omaha, Nebraska-based River City Gender Alliance, said, “The judge’s court order direct attack on the transgender community’s right to function normally and safely in everyday life. Our access to medically necessary health care treatment is being restricted simply because of who we are.”

To see the ACLU’s motion, go here.

—  Tammye Nash

Patrick holding press conference to announce filing of bathroom bill

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaking at a press conference in Fort Worth last spring against Fort Worth ISD guidelines on protecting transgender students. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is so proud that he is going to put Texas’ economic health at risk that he’s holding a press conference this afternoon to announce it.

Patrick and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, sent out a “media advisory” yesterday (Wednesday, Jan. 4) to say they will be holding a press conference today (Thursday, Jan. 5), at 1 p.m. in the Senate Press Conference Room at the Texas Capitol, to announce the filing of Senate Bill 6,”The Privacy Protection Act.”

For those who might not know, “Privacy Protection Act” is the alias Patrick has given to his version of HB 2, the anti-transgender bathroom bill that has cost the state of North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars. Patrick thinks that by pretending he is trying to protect women and children from predatory men instead of just plain ol’ hating on transgender people, he can fool people into thinking SB6 is a good thing. Of course, if he really wanted to protect women and children from predatory men, he would be working to stop the men in the Texas Legislature from passing laws that interfere with women’s control over their own bodies and health decisions.

Hopefully there are enough people in the Legislature who have more sense than prejudice that they will be able to stop this bill before it gets anywhere. But we suggest that everyone who does oppose it put as much effort as possible into letting your representatives and senators know that this is a really really bad idea.

 

—  Tammye Nash