It is a precarious moment in time for America's transgender community. In Texas, lawmakers are considering a bill much like North Carolina's devastating HB2 that would require transgender students to use bathrooms according to their biological sex. But many Texans are virulently opposed to the legislation. On Monday, transgender people, advocates, and allies gathered outside the state capitol in Austin to voice their concerns about the bill. And one particularly powerful speech by the father of a trans girl has resonated with many people.
Standing before the crowd with his partner and daughter next to him, the man delivered a stirring smackdown of the politicians and supporters of the bill who often invoke the protection of women and children to justify the bill.
"The proponents of this bill claim to have privacy and safety as their priority. However, they are severely endangering the privacy and safety of many children in the state, including my daughter. This bill outright targets and discriminates against transgender children. It would punish and potentially bankrupt many schools that already support and allow transgender students to use the correct bathroom without any issue," he said, and then to raucous cheers: "If your concern is what's in children's pants, then maybe you are the one that is behaving inappropriately. This bill exclusively creates a problem where there was none."
He also noted the strong support system his daughter has in school, from her peers and their parents, and friends and family — and how all that could be upended by this piece of legislation.
"This is who she is; how could anyone debate that? Libby is appreciated and fully accepted for who she is in her school environments. This discriminatory bill would completely turn her world upside down," he said. "I am here to plead to the good people of Texas to show compassion to others, love thy neighbor, and take a stand against this ignorant, discriminatory bill."
The fight for transgender rights have gained increasing momentum in recent years, but bathroom bills in a number of state legislatures loom large over its progress. As a father of a transgender child, the man implored Texas lawmakers to get to know a transgender person before deciding to strip them of their rights:
I urge our Texas state senators and representatives to sit down with the experts, talk to a family with a transgender child, and get to know a transgender adult. You will find that your fears will completely dissipate as you learn that these are amazing, normal people who would much prefer to stay under the radar than to be forced to the streets to defend their rights to basic public existence.
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