Texas' New 'Transgender Bathroom Bill' Keeps Biological Sexes Separate in School Facilities

Texas' Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill early Monday that allows publicly funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents because of religious objections.

Greg Abbott (R) requested late Sunday night that a Senate bill modifying the law be considered an "emergency matter", putting it on track for a Tuesday vote in the House, the Austin Statesmen reported.

Beyond fears for students' civil rights, the bill's opponents also point out that this kind of legislation is unsafe for transgender youth, who are at a heightened risk for having depression, having anxiety, or attempting suicide compared to the general population, something linked to the discrimination they face.

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"This amendment was more about using trans kids as a negotiating tool at a contentious point in the session than about making kids safer", Rep. Celia Israel, a leader in opposing the bill said. Some female legislators even used the men's restroom at the Texas capitol in protest. "White. Colored. I was living through that era ... bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now", Democratic state Representative Senfronia Thompson, who is black, said on the House floor. "Separate but equal is not equal at all", she said. It is an amendment to an unrelated measure already OK'd by the Senate, but the Senate must now sign off on the amendment before it goes to Abbott, a Republican who has said passing a so-called bathroom bill is a priority for this legislative session. "Some people don't want to admit that because they are ashamed, and this is shameful". Following a whirlwind weekend in the Texas Legislature that pushed abortion restrictions, religious objections and a so-called "bathroom bill" toward the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, tired Democrats are sounding a familiar warning: We'll see you in court.

With the threat of a special session looming over bathrooms, the Texas House gave its final approval to a controversial measure that would regulate where transgender students can use public school restrooms.

Hundreds of businesses and several Texas chambers of commerce, celebrities and performers, tourism groups and events and sports organizations including the National Basketball Association, the NFL and the NCAA have spoken out against legislation targeting transgender people for discrimination.

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"For those who care about unfunded mandates, if a school district or open enrollment [faces a lawsuit], it requires the state attorney general to defend them", Paddie said.

In moving key pieces of legislation, the House on Saturday worked to claim Patrick's bargaining chip by amending a separate measure dealing with reporting requirements for state agencies to extend the lives of several agencies that could have been forced to shutter without a safety net bill. This, of course, does not allow transgender individuals to use the bathrooms that accord with their true gender identities. Many have nondiscrimination policies that include transgender students and have allowed them to use bathrooms of their choice.

The compromise doesn't go as far as the bill that passed the Texas Senate in March. Conservative lawmakers in the House bristled at the legislation not out of concern for civil rights, but for state finances.

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