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

Troopers: Single-car crash kills two women in Burnet County
Troopers: Single-car crash kills two women in Burnet County

Two women in their early 30s died Saturday afternoon in a single-car crash on U.S. 281 near Park Road 4 in Burnet County, officials said. The crash happened around 2 p.m., said state Trooper Shannon Simpson. “Two females going south on U.S. 281 at a very high rate of speed passed a vehicle and lost control,” he said. The 2012 Hyundai carrying...
Authorities: Small plane damaged during landing at Burnet airport
Authorities: Small plane damaged during landing at Burnet airport

A small plane carrying only its pilot was damaged while landing at around 7:21 a.m. Saturday at Burnet Municipal Airport, officials said. Department of Public Safety officer Andrew Thomas said the pilot, Mark Rankin, was uninjured and that the airport runway was not damaged. “It was a pretty simple crash,” Thomas said. “The plane...
Pedicab cyclist: Lyft driver pulled a gun after Rainey Street dustup
Pedicab cyclist: Lyft driver pulled a gun after Rainey Street dustup

A Lyft driver pulled a gun on a pedicab driver and threatened to kill her early Saturday morning after an argument in which she kicked his car near the Rainey Street entertainment district, the pedicabber told police. Austin Police arrested Robert Henderson Rush, 58, on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — though the weapon...
Monarch butterflies tagged on Gulf Coast for migration research
Monarch butterflies tagged on Gulf Coast for migration research

A burst of color welcomes visitors to Quintana Beach County Park, orange-and-black butterflies dotting the vibrant hues of red, pink and purple that make up the pollinator garden. The microscopic monarch butterfly eggs aren’t easy to spot among the flowers, but Patty Brinkmeyer has an eye for this sort of thing. “Once you’ve looked...
Authorities: North Texas mother left 2 kids in hot car as punishment
Authorities: North Texas mother left 2 kids in hot car as punishment

A North Texas woman told investigators that she left her 2-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son in a hot car where they died last month to teach the girl a lesson and that they didn’t lock themselves in, as she initially reported, according to sheriff’s officials. Cynthia Marie Randolph, 24, was being held Saturday on two counts of causing...
More Stories