Supporters of SB6, the so-called “bathroom bill” that would discriminate against transgender people who need to use a public restroom in Texas, often claim they’re simply trying to “protect” women and children from sexual predators. The bill, they insist, has nothing to do with targeting transgender people for discrimination. But they’re lying, as a spokesperson for Conservative Republicans of Texas made clear in an essay Monday. Excerpt:
“SB 6 would prohibit perverted men and boys, who sexually fantasize that they are women, from entering women’s and girls’ bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.”
That couldn’t be clearer. SB6 isn’t really about protecting anyone. It’s about demonizing transgender people, even deliberately mischaracterizing them as “perverted” people who “sexually fantasize” that they are a different gender than their physical appearance might suggest.
The writer is Jared Woodfill, the former Harris County Republican Party chair who helped lead the effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance two years ago. He now serves as editor-in-chief of CRTX News, the propaganda outlet for Steven Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas. The Southern Poverty Laws Center last year added Hotze’s organization to its list of hate groups around the country.
Lies from Politicians
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has claimed that Texas needs SB6 to “protect businesses from government interference” by overturning local ordinances that allow transgender people to use the bathroom that conforms with their gender identity. But Texas businesses, including the leading Texas business organization, strongly oppose the bill.
SB6’s sponsor, state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, has claimed that the bill isn’t intended to target transgender Texans for discrimination:
“It’s really not about the transgender. It’s about other people that will abuse that. And that side of it’s not been told very well.”
But SB6 supporters haven’t been able to provide any evidence that sexual predators use protections for transgender people to harass or sexually assault people in public restrooms in the numerous cities and states where such protections exist. In fact, the folks who are most vulnerable are transgender people, who are victims of hate violence at shockingly high levels.
Allies with Haters
On the other hand, Patrick and Kolkhorst — in an effort to pass SB6 — have allied themselves with some of the most virulently hateful anti-LGBT voices on the religious right, as a Dallas Morning News piece revealed at the end of March:
“Two groups tapped by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to lead a statewide campaign for his divisive bathroom bill are longtime opponents of LGBT rights that have called transgender people ‘unnatural’ and ‘unhealthy’ peddlers of ‘destructive behavior.'”
The rhetoric from those groups and extremists like Woodfill and Hotze makes clear that the real purpose of bills like SB6 is to use government to humiliate, demonize and punish transgender people simply for being different. Claims to the contrary are they falsehoods politicians tell to hide their real motivations from voters or simply to make themselves feel better.