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Equality Texas Fighting on the Front Lines to Protect All LGBT Texans, Issues Statement from Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas Regarding Texas v. U.S. Hearing
Posted on August 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Austin, Texas – Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to refuse to acknowledge the existence of 1.4 million Americans who are transgender, and continues to target the most vulnerable segment of that population – transgender kids.

The attorney general should focus on the well-being of all students, including transgender students. Instead, Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to waste millions of taxpayer dollars to discriminate against his fellow Texans. The injunction hearing today, concerning the federal government’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, was an all out attempt to demonize transgender students. We believe that the litigation spearheaded by his office facilitates hostile and intolerant environments in places where children should feel the safest and most supported.

Transgender Texans, and in particular transgender kids, must be afforded the most basic dignity to use the bathroom. Paxton’s actions seek to punish and harm transgender students who have done nothing wrong.

Today, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released the first nationally representative study on the health risks and adverse health outcomes among LGBTQ students in high school. The study of 1.3 million students showed that LGBTQ youth are at a far greater risk for suicide, depression, bullying and rape, and calls for an “accelerated action to protect their health and well-being.”

Earlier this year, a letter signed by national organizations representing almost 5 million educators, pediatricians, counselors and other child welfare providers urged public officials like AG Paxton to stop their political attacks on transgender youth. These organizations include the American Federation of Teachers, the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Counseling Association; the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Education Association.

The many moving pieces in the courts and multiple lawsuits underscores a critical need to ensure that transgender protections are permanently codified into state and federal law. Protection from discrimination is too important to leave to the discretion of individual judges or jurisdictions. Texas must continue to work to update our nondiscrimination laws to include transgender people and make those protections permanent through statute.