Anti-Transgender Bill SB6 brings controversy

Published 7:52 am Saturday, January 7, 2017

From staff reports

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) announced, on Thursday, the filing of SB6, a North Carolina-style anti-transgender bill targeting vulnerable Texans for discrimination.

“After having watched the debacle in North Carolina, it is shocking that the Lieutenant Governor would be so intent on pursuing SB6,” Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, said. “It’s unnecessary, discriminatory and inconsistent with the constitutional value of equal protection for all.  And that’s to say nothing of the havoc it will wreak on the Texas economy should it pass. Make no mistake — the invidious intent of SB6 is to deny transgender Texans the ability to participate in public life.”

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault opposes any legislation that would interfere with the use of public facilities by transgender individuals. Such legislation does not protect women and children, but instead contradicts decades of research. Ninety-five percent of child sexual abuse victims are abused by someone known to them, and 84% of child sexual abuse occurs in private residences. Moreover, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, transgender people are more than twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault and hate crimes than the general population. Forcing transgender people into facilities inconsistent with their gender identities heightens their risk of victimization.

“We strongly encourage lawmakers concerned about public safety to concentrate time and resources on evidence-based supports for survivors, especially those among our most vulnerable populations,” Chris Kaiser, TAASA’s director of public policy, said.

“The Texas State Legislature has exactly one constitutionally assigned duty: to pass a budget,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said. “If they’re planning on spending the session on SB6 and spiteful legislation like it, we’d much rather they restrained themselves to that one duty, packed up their circus tents and went home. But if the Lieutenant Governor is truly worried about the safety of women and children, he would cease his assaults on women’s well-being, repair Texas’s moribund CPS program and see to the millions of uninsured children whose lives and futures have been compromised by our lawmakers’ warped priorities.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton agrees with the Senate Bill.

“After our success in stopping President Obama’s bathroom rules in court, states are now free to enact legislation of their choosing to protect privacy,” Paxton said. “Texans should feel safe and secure when they enter any intimate facility, so I applaud the work of Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Senator Kolkhorst for fighting to protect women and children from those who might use access to such facilities for nefarious purposes.”