You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Rally draws 1,000 transgender bathroom bill opponents


Highlights

Capitol rally, advocacy day draws 1,000 to lobby for LGBT rights.

‘Loving thy neighbor as thyself means making sure all Texans have equal rights,’ actress Sara Ramirez says.

Galvanized by concern over the transgender bathroom bill, about 1,000 advocates for equal treatment rallied Monday at the Capitol to decry Senate Bill 6 as a dangerous solution to a problem that does not exist.

“Our LGBTQ-plus family is under attack, again, and it is not OK,” actress Sara Ramirez, known for a longtime role on the “Grey’s Anatomy” TV drama, told the crowd on the Capitol’s south steps.

“Loving thy neighbor as thyself means making sure all Texans have equal rights — and the same access to bathrooms,” Ramirez said.

A similar advocacy day in 2015 drew about 80 participants to the Capitol. But Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s quest to crack down on transgender-friendly bathroom policies, begun about a year ago, sparked a surge of interest in fighting for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans, said Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas.

“It’s motivated people who have not been advocates before to speak up,” Smith said, adding that about 1,000 people paid a $5 registration fee to participate in the event, which was capped by afternoon visits to lawmakers’ offices.

During Monday’s rally, Kathy Miller with the Texas Freedom Network reminded participants that there are other bills of concern, including several that would allow individuals, businesses and government officials to refuse to serve gay couples if same-sex marriage violates their religious beliefs.

“Religious liberty does not mean that people of faith are free to opt out of laws they don’t like, or impose their personal religious beliefs on others, or use religion as a weapon to harm fellow Texans,” Miller said. “Faith … should not be used as a license to discriminate.”

Most of the rally’s focus, however, was on SB 6, which would require public schools and universities and government buildings to limit bathroom and locker room use to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate. Supporters say it is needed to protect the privacy and safety of women and children.

SB 6 was approved by the Senate last week and is awaiting action in the House.

“This bill is about one thing, and one thing only. It’s about treating transgender people as second-class citizens,” Smith told the crowd. “We will keep lifting up our voices louder and louder until SB 6 is firmly rejected by the Texas House.”

Ramirez said SB 6 targets a vulnerable population.

“Research shows a real danger of emotional and physical harm when a transgender child is marginalized by a school or peers,” she said. “Risks of depression, suicide and self-harm are significantly reduced when a child’s gender identity is affirmed, supported and accepted.”

Andrew Morrison introduced the crowd to his 8-year-old transgender daughter, Marilyn.

“Since Marilyn transitioned a year ago to live as her authentic self, we’ve seen her blossom,” Morrison said. “She’s displayed tremendous grit to fight discrimination.”

SB 6 will have a deep impact on “real kids with real lives, that go to real schools, that deal with a constant daily struggle of bullying and harassment,” he said.

“It perplexes me to think that some lawmakers can’t find an ounce of compassion to put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” Morrison said. “To all you legislators out there, the blood will be on your hands if anything happens to any of our kids or this entire beautiful community.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Ohio man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria
Ohio man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria

An Ohio man is in federal custody, facing charges related to attempting to provide material support to terrorist group ISIS. FBI agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force on Wednesday arrested Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, at Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport. Alebbini was on his way to Syria to join ISIS fighters, the FBI said. Authorities said...
DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: UT police investigate incident near Dean Keeton, San Jacinto streets
DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: UT police investigate incident near Dean Keeton, San Jacinto streets

University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a shooter following reports of a shots fired on campus Thursday morning. Just after 10 a.m., in the vicinity of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets, a man in a white sedan fired a gun at an unidentified person that he apparently knew, University police said in an email sent to faculty and staff...
Smugglers caught with $380K worth of cocaine in pants, Customs officials say
Smugglers caught with $380K worth of cocaine in pants, Customs officials say

 Two men face smuggling charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers said they found pounds of cocaine hidden under the men’s pants during an inspection in New York. Officers found the men last week while checking passengers arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic...
NEW NOW: Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez praises Democrats who fought 'sanctuary cities' bill
NEW NOW: Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez praises Democrats who fought 'sanctuary cities' bill

Hours after the Texas House gave preliminary approval to a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez praised Democratic representatives for their efforts to quash the measure. “They truly listened to leaders in both law enforcement and communities of faith, as well as the people we are sworn to protect and serve...
Michael Flynn being investigated by DOD; was warned in 2014 about taking foreign payments
Michael Flynn being investigated by DOD; was warned in 2014 about taking foreign payments

The inspector general of the Department of Defense has opened an investigation into whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn reported money he received for a speaking appearance in Russia. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Maryland), released three documents Thursday that confirmed the investigation, ABC News is reporting. One of the letters Cummings...
More Stories