Texas' SB 3 would cripple the state economy & promote violence against transgender Texans

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick leads Senate to aide Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Special Discrimination Session” against Trans Texans

NEW YORK - GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today decried the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs for approving Senate Bill 3, a bill that would bar transgender children from using school restrooms according to their gender identity, overturn city ordinances requiring businesses to let transgender Texans use the restrooms according to their gender identity, and prevent trans athletes from receiving discrimination protections not already in federal or state laws. The bill is the first legislative step in Gov. Greg Abbott’s push for a so-called “bathroom bill” as part of his “special discrimination session” this summer. Gov. Abbott’s anti-LGBTQ agenda is already harming Texas’ economy.

“This law is designed to make it impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like other Texans and opens transgender students to discrimination, bullying and outright violence,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Encouraging discrimination against fellow Texans serves no one, and with Texas’ largest employers opposed to SB 3, it is sure to cause a devastating economic panic.”

[GLAAD VIDEO: What Texas’ Special Session Means For LGBTQ Texans]

Already this year, anti-LGBTQ activists, including Gov. Abbott, have advocated for legislation that openly targets and discriminates against transgender Texas, barring them from public accommodations in accordance with their gender identity. Not only has a so-called “bathroom bill” been opposed by the majority of Texans and big businesses across the country, but it could drain about $3 billion from the state’s economy while also putting the safety of transgender Texans in jeopardy. Even Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican, voiced his opposition to the anti-trans bills – saying he was “disgusted by all this” and did not “a suicide of a single Texan on [his] hands.”

Since the start of this year’s session, GLAAD has been on the ground fighting the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas. This spring, GLAAD coordinated with Equality Texas and Texas Freedom Network to hold numerous “Students Against Hate” rallies on college campuses across the state where Texans came together to share their voice and fight back against the anti-LGBTQ bills being perused at the statehouse. Further, GLAAD teamed up with Equality Texas, The Ally Coalition, and more than 160 leading artists, entertainers, and influencers to release an open letter opposing anti-LGBTQ bills, including the so-called “bathroom bill,” that threatened to harm LGBTQ Texas. The letter demonstrated widespread disapproval for dangerous legislation.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: TIMELINE - The Anti-Trans Agenda of Gov. Abbott and Anti-LGBTQ Policymakers at the Texas Statehouse

1.05.17: Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and State Senator Lois Kolkhorst unveil Senate Bill 6, a bill aimed at blocking transgender access to public accommodations in public schools, universities, and government buildings.  

1.15.17: House Speaker Joe Straus issues warning of the economic threat of such a discriminatory bill as SB 6: “We should be very careful about doing something that would make Texas less competitive for investments, jobs, and the highly skilled workforce needed to compete.”

3.06.17: Lt. Gov Patrick recruits anti-LGBTQ hate groups, Vision America and Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council to help push for the passage of SB 6 with the launch of “Operation One Million Voices.”

3.06.17: Rep. Simmons files HB 2899, an even harsher bathroom bill that bars transgender people’s access to public accommodations as well as invalidating existing local non-discrimination LGBTQ ordinances in Texas.

3.8.17: The Committee on State Affairs approves SB6 by and 7-1 vote, after hearing over 18 hours of testimony, with a majority of local speakers voicing opposition to the anti-LGBTQ bill.

3.09.17: WOAI News 4 San Antonio airs a town hall on SB 6; with two members of known anti-LGBTQ hate groups and only one person who identified as LGBTQ, sparking GLAAD to team with Equality Texas and successfully campaign for equal airtime for pro-trans voices.  

3.14.17: The Texas Senate passes SB 6 with a 21-10 vote; during the debate, the Democrats call the bill a solution in search of a problem that would lead to economic fallout.

5.16.17: Gov. Abbott called the “bathroom bill” a must pass piece of legislation and one of his top priorities for the remaining weeks of the legislative session.

5.17.17: Lt. Gov. Patrick issues a threat to force a special session over the so-called bathroom bill: “I will ask the governor to call us back again and again and again.”

5.22.17: The Texas House successfully adds an anti-trans amendment to Senate Bill 2078 that would restrict bathroom access for K-12 transgender students in TX public schools.

5.26.17: Lt. Gov. Patrick takes five state agency bills hostage in order to force a special session and include SB 6 or HB 2899. One of these, the arcane “sunset” bill, failed to pass before the end of the session.

5.29.17: Regular session of the 85th Legislature adjourns.

6.6.17: Gov. Abbott calls for a special session with a 20 item agenda that includes anti-transgender legislation.

7.10.17: Rep. Ron Simmons files two anti-transgender bills. HB 46 which would block all political subdivisions from either adopting or enforcing protections for transgender people in bathrooms and changes facilities and HB 50, which is similar to HB 46 but apples solely to school districts.

7.10.17: Sen. Bob Hall files a statewide anti-LGBTQ preemption bill that would prohibit adopting or enforcing of any nondiscrimination protections not protected by state law, which would vote all current nondiscrimination ordinances including in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

7.11.17: Rep. Scott Sanford, appearing in a debate on CBSDFW said that the 40% of transgender youth attempt suicide because of “mental illness,” not discrimination.

7.18.17: Rep. Ron Simmons pushed debunked anti-transgender talking points on CBSDFW, saying there are transgender and gender non-conforming people who use “gender identity to do harm to others.”

7.20.17: State Senator Lois Kolkhorst files SB 3 and SB 91, two pieces of legislation that use violent language to discriminate against transgender Texans across the state. Both bills follow Kolkhorst’s Senate Bill 6, which she filed during the regular session.