Texas Joins North Carolina's Anti-Transgender Fight With A Painfully Bigoted Statement
On Thursday, the Obama administration issued an order to public school districts throughout the country requiring the districts to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their true gender identity. Since North Carolina passed a law forbidding exactly that, the national debate about transgender rights has skyrocketed, with those scared that transgender women are a threat to young girls in the bathroom siding with North Carolina. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick falls under that category, claiming Friday that Obama's transgender guidelines would lead to bullying "not of the transgender kids, [but of] the straight kids." Aside from the fact that "cisgender kids" would be a more accurate term than "straight kids," Patrick's claim makes absolutely no sense.
The forthcoming Obama administration letter will detail what schools need to do to ensure transgender students have equal rights, and though it isn't a law, the letter threatens that failure to comply could result in a lawsuit or a loss of federal funding, according to The New York Times. It's going to be signed by both Department of Justice and Department of Education officials, so Obama wasn't the only one behind the order.
Nonetheless, Patrick was not pleased. "President Obama, in the dark of the night — without consulting Congress, without consulting educators, without consulting parents — decides to issue an executive order, like this superintendent, forcing transgender policies on schools and on parents who clearly don't want it," Patrick told NBC 5, referring to a Fort Worth superintendent who accommodated transgender students.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also disapproves of the new ruling, vowing that his state will lead America forward while "our country is in crisis." He told thousands of delegates at a Texas GOP convention Thursday: "Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues. I want you to know, I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are going to fight back."
While the conservative lieutenant governor isn't the first to reject transgender rights or Obama's executive order, his worry that cisgender students will be bullied by transgender students in school bathrooms is absurd. The myth that transgender women will use women's bathrooms to assault cisgender women and girls has already been widely debunked, and claims of bullying are no different. If anyone's being bullied in schools, it's transgender and non-cisgender kids.
Giving them the right to use the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity (or if they don't identify as either gender, whichever bathroom they choose) would only result in those students feeling safer and more equal to their peers.
"This will be the beginning of the end of the public school system as we know it," Patrick said in a press conference. He wasn't entirely wrong — the old transphobic, exclusive public school system will (hopefully) end.