Advocate says Texas voter ID bill will force transgender people to out themselves at polls

Posted on 24 Mar 2011 at 3:17pm
Rep. Van Taylor of Plano believes only the right people should vote.

The Republican-backed voter ID bill passed the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday night.

During the floor debate on the bill, Laredo Democrat Richard Raymond asked, “Anytime you deal with a law as comprehensive and as big as this you have to take into account people’s voting rights. You would agree with that, right?”

Plano Republican Van Taylor said, “I think it is important to remember that this bill is about making sure that the right people show up on election day and vote.”

“That the right people show up on election day?” Raymond asked. “Who are the right people?”

As much as any group, the transgender community will be affected if — and when – this bill becomes law.

Katy Stewart of the Transgender Education Network of Texas said her organization opposes voter ID bills.

“This law would make transgender persons out themselves at the polls,” she said.

Lisa Scheps, former executive director of TENT, said the law would have a tremendous effect on transgender people.

“So many times transgender people are cross-identified,” Scheps said.

If the photo on a government-issued identification doesn’t match someone’s presentation, the ID will be questioned and the person may be denied the right to vote, she said. While the transgender community wasn’t the main target of this legislation, she said many in the community will be affected.

“It’s a bad bill,” she said. “One more way to disenfranchise many groups of people.”

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