The surest sign that Texas lawmakers are complete idiots? The fact that they watched what happened when North Carolina passed its own anti-transgender Bathroom Bill and then still thought it worth a shot to pass one of their own.
The good news is that if this turns out anything like North Carolina, the GOP will get their asses kicked come election time.
Yup, deep in the heart of hate, er, Texas, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted 8-1 to approve a bill to restrict transgender rights. Senate Bill 3 would require people to use the bathroom associated with the sex on their birth certificate in all government buildings and schools; it would also ban local governments and schools from passing their own rules to allow transgender people to use the bathroom associated with their actual gender.
Making matters worse, the process for updating one’s birth certificate is difficult in Texas, and it is estimated that most Trans persons in the state do not have an updated birth certificate. But what do lawmakers care? Hate rules!
The bill will now go to the full senate for a vote, where it is expected to easily pass, though it could, could, face opposition in the house, though, where Republican speaker—yes, Republican speaker—Joe Straus has said:
“I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”
The bill’s author, Republican senator ... because, of course ... Lois Kolkhorst, opened the hearing, saying:
“We’re here today because Texas has a tradition of taking care of these issues and not being dictated to by the federal government.”
In case you missed it, by “these issues” she means Civil Rights.
Her Hate Speech was followed by ten hours of testimony followed, most from a coalition of LGBTQ activists, teachers groups, school administrators, and business leaders that oppose the bill. Those people mentioned the high suicide rate for transgender people as a reason to oppose further discrimination which caused Republican ... because, of course ... senator Craig Estes to actually say:
“I’m hearing that it’s somehow our fault that people are committing suicide. Another explanation could be that people are depressed.”
Perhaps people are distressed because they’re being treated as “less than”? Perhaps they’re depressed because they just want to pee. Estes went on to say that he is sure that “it would be depressing to be trying to figure out which gender you are” but that suicide can be caused by lots of things.
Um, asshat? Trans persons are not “trying to figure out which gender” they are; they already know. It’s the bigots and haters in the schools, statehouse, and churches who can’t seem to grasp what being Trans means.
And, as happened in North Carolina, logic will most likely lose out to hate and hysteria and lies, but sanity may be restored with the loss of revenue.
Several business leaders testified that, like North Carolina, Texas’s major cities could lose millions of dollars if this law is passed. Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau’s CEO Phillip Jones says that city has already lost $40 million because of this bill and could lose another $1 billion in bookings if the bill passes.
And then IBM stepped into the fight, sending an internal memo to employees around the world calling the bill discriminatory, and sending twenty executives to testify in the hearing about the bill.
Other companies coming out against the hate include Apple, Amazon, Google, Cisco, Facebook, and Dallas-based companies like American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, At&T, and Texas Instruments who sent in their own testimony:
“Our companies are competing every day to bring the best and brightest talent to Dallas. To that end, we strongly support diversity and inclusion. This legislation threatens our ability to attract and retain the best talent in Texas, as well as the greatest sporting and cultural attractions in the world.”
But Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a bigoted asshat if there ever was one, refused to listen to reason, and, instead, played the “Protect The Women and Children” card just as Governor McCrory did in North Carolina; and, again, there has never been one single incident, anywhere, where a Trans person has assaulted a woman, or a child, in a restroom; again, they just want to pee.
So, Texas, carry on with the bigotry and intolerance and ignorance, you’ve been doing so for decades; and then cry foul when businesses move away, when conventions change their locations, when sports teams and sporting associations decide to hold their events elsewhere.
And that’s the cost of hate, in dollars, but the cost to human life, human dignity, civil rights, and just being decent, has no monetary value.