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Civil and Religious Liberties Groups, Sexual Assault Experts, Faith Leaders, Parents Call for Rejection of Discriminatory ‘Bathroom’ Bill
Austin, Texas – March 7, 2017– Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBT Texans, today joined forces with Texas parents and a coalition of Texas leaders and organizations to oppose SB 6 and any other piece of discriminatory legislation.
The coalition of parents, sexual assault experts, pastors and civil rights organizations criticized the Lt. Governor for targeting innocent transgender children who are already among the most bullied and harassed and more at risk of suicide than any Texan.
Today, two Texas moms who were leading their private lives quietly and peacefully- felt compelled to speak out to protect the safety of their children. In their eyes, forcing transgender children to go to the bathroom based on their birth certificate will put their children’s lives in danger.
Mama Bears- Rachel Gonzales of Dallas and Chelsa Morrison of Grapevine are spoke out on behalf of their daughters 6-year-old Libby and 8-year-old Marilyn because they believe SB 6 would fundamentally hurt their child.
“Like every other parent here, I just want the best for Libby. I want her to dream big dreams and have the confidence to achieve them. I want Libby to know that she is loved unconditionally. I want her to go to school every single day feeling safe and loved. SB 6 is about hurting transgender Texans – and transgender kids. It’s not only a totally unnecessary bill, it’s a dangerous bill. I know there are a lot of economic arguments out there about how SB 6 will hurt our state. But I want you to know, SB 6 will hurt my family. I am speaking out to protect my child. I would rather live my life in the privacy of my community with my husband and children, but some of our state leaders have chosen to make my child a target and I am going to speak out to protect my child,” said Rachel Gonzales, the mom of a transgender daughter.
“I think our kids need to be treated fairly,” said Chelsa Morrison. “I think our kids need to be protected from discrimination, and I’m here today to make sure my child is protected under the law. We are not fighting about bathrooms. We are fighting for our children’s lives. I urge you to listen to my story and the stories of so many other parents here today. Listen to our educators opposing this bill, and listen to the businesses warning you it’s bad for Texas.”
“Transgender Texans, like all Texans, need to use public restrooms without fear for their safety or security. SB 6 and other discriminatory legislation would roll back decades-old policies and laws that ensure that transgender people have access to restrooms appropriate to their gender. Every parent fears for the safety of their child. These proposed laws exploit that fear to attack a vulnerable community, subjecting transgender children and adults to harm. The laws are unenforceable without massive police intrusion on privacy rights and create an expensive liability for businesses,” said Lou Weaver, the first statewide transgender programs coordinator for Equality Texas.
“When transgender women, children and men go into the public bathroom that is congruent with their gender identity, they are the most vulnerable person in that facility. They are already targets for bullying, shaming, and violence. They are the ones who need protection, and shame on you for creating unfounded and misdirected conflict, hysteria and hate for this already overly targeted group. It has always been illegal to assault people in a public bathroom. You are putting politics and political agenda above people who really need protection. So, with all due respect, in my faith tradition we call that sin,” said The Rev. S. David Wynn, lead pastor of Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth.
“The lieutenant governor has decided to pick on an already bullied group of kids. It’s shameful and it’s despicable. We believe Patrick is grand-standing, expressing fake outrage and misrepresenting the facts to try and manipulate Texans who have not met our fellow transgender Texans,” said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to educate ourselves so these false attacks can be exposed for what they are, a solution where there is no problem to perpetuate discrimination against LGBT Texans,” said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas. “Lt Governor Patrick appeals to the worst chapters of our history, in which discrimination runs rampant and understanding and compassion are absent. Transgender students, like transgender adults, don’t want to cause any problems. They simply want to use the bathroom when the need arises. The lt. governor’s bill threatens our children and threatens the Texas economy.”
We urge the Lt. Governor to focus on the immense needs of our state that need a real focus from our state leaders, like a severely underfunded education system, a foster care system that is killing countless innocent children, the need for roads and many other issues.
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working solely to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is a guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, the Legislature and Texas communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.