Today, HRC blasted Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst for introducing SB 6 — dishonestly titled the “Privacy Protection Act” — a bill expressly intended to discriminate against and block facility access for transgender Texans. The bill would overturn non-discrimination ordinances currently providing critical protections in several major Texas cities; further, it would force state agencies, municipalities, public schools and public universities to discriminate against transgender people. By making it illegal for transgender people in Texas to be afforded access to facilities consistent with their identity, it opens them up to increased discrimination and harassment as they simply live their everyday lives. It also exposes Texas to tremendous risk of the kind of financial, legal, and political blowback that North Carolina has continued to reckon with after the passage of HB2.
The bill will come under consideration when the Texas Legislature convenes on Tuesday, January 10.
“Dan Patrick’s attack on transgender Texans is a dangerous, politically-motivated assault on the rights of his own constituents,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Patrick and his anti-LGBTQ friends in the legislature have clearly learned nothing from the self-inflicted damage caused by North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law and want to throw away $8.5 billion in revenue from lost visitors, businesses, sports leagues and major entertainment groups. If lawmakers vote to discriminate against transgender people, Texas will be closed for business.”
Like the notorious HB2 in North Carolina, the bill expressly prohibits transgender Texans — including students in public elementary schools through public universities — from using restroom facilities in publicly-owned buildings consistent with their identity. Also like HB2, it would preempt local governments from passing their own legislation ensuring that transgender students, residents and visitors are afforded equitable access to facilities consistent with their gender identity.
With this measure, Patrick is simply attacking his own vulnerable constituents who already are disproportionately targeted for discrimination.
A recent study released by the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition and commissioned by the Texas Association of Business shows that the state could suffer a loss of $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if the state moves forward on anti-LGBTQ bills.
Patrick has made a career out of his anti-LGBTQ animus, including opposing marriage equality in Texas, advocating to strip Texas cities of equal rights ordinances and supporting anti-LGBTQ reality star Phil Robertson.
HRC continues to work alongside Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, and others on the ground to battle against dangerous or harmful bills that attack the dignity of LGBTQ Texans.