We the People of Texas

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Editorial by Josephine P. Tittsworth, ABD, LMSW, BSW, AA

People in our country are concerned with the current political environment. It sometimes seems that our friends and families are abandoning many of us because of our stance on social justice/freedom. Some people are not happy that other people perceive a serious state of discrimination existing in our communities today. We now have a President elect who has appointed both a suspected white supremist and a potential Russian sympathizer to his White House staff. In Texas, we have an Attorney General Ken Paxton who is advocating the marginalization of transidentified people (identify their gender opposite to their birth sex).2

Too many lives are in jeopardy in Texas due to hateful attitudes. In 2016, there have been 241 transidentified people murdered in our country. This broke last year’s record of 21. This may not seem like many but understand that transidentified people constitute a very high murder rate when compared to the general population.

As social workers, we are committed to social justice for all people regardless of their gender identity and gender expression (“gender identity” and “gender expression” refer to how persons perceive themselves as a man or woman). The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics clearly indicates that social workers are not to discriminate against people based on their gender identity and gender expression. We are held to a very high standard of professionalism. Social workers are dedicated to help others learn how to empower themselves so as to help their communities.
The Texas Legislature will be considering legislation that will bring misery and create potential safety hazards to transidentified people. Humanity demands respect and the ability to live. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is encouraging a bill to protect women in restrooms.3 What he and the media are not telling Texans is that there are already laws in place to protect not only women but also men and children. The only reason for the law being proposed is to discriminate against transidentified people. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is supporting legislation to separate transidentified people from our society using false pretenses to gain support. So why not just call it what it really is: “Transgender Discrimination Law.” Social workers and other Texans tend to call apples-apples and oranges-oranges. Therefore social workers and many Texans will not sugar coat reality to trick people into supporting a law, but Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will.

Contact your Texas State Legislators today to encourage them to vote against all discriminatory bills. We live in a supposedly free country so let us work towards that goal. The Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit stands with the NASW Texas Chapter and Equality Texas for social justice.
Josephine P. Tittsworth, ABD, LMSW, BSW, AA
Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit, Executive Director
NASW TX LGBT Equity Committee Chair
1 Hernandez, G. (2016, November 10). With 24 murdered, it’s the deadliest year on record for transgender people in US. The Gay Star News. Retrieved December 24, 2016 from http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/with-24-murdered-its-deadliest-year-on-record-for-transgender-people-in-us/.

2 Attorney General of Texas, (2015, October 7). Ken Paxton agenda to Dan Patrick: Interim Charges of Religious Liberties. Document in possession of Equality Texas.
3 Towle, A. (2016, October 21). Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick rebrands anti-LGBT bathroom bill as ‘Women’s Privacy Act’. Towleroad. Retrieved December 24, 2016 from http://www.towleroad.com/2016/10/womens-privacy-act/.