Opinion

Opinion: What’s “Highly Disturbing” Is Texas GOP Hatred of Trans Kids

State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Greenville)
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Greenville) Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
Monday, State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Greenville) issued a statement begging Attorney General Ken Paxton to please make life a nightmare for trans kids in the state.

“Today I was joined by Representatives Brian Harrison, Tony Tinderholt, and Mark Dorazio in requesting AG Ken Paxton to review the highly disturbing ‘transgender students’ guidance that was recently published by the Texas Association of School Boards,” the statement read. “The guidance not only seems to encourage schools to refrain from reporting child abuse, but also claims that young girls have no protection from biological males being in their restrooms and locker rooms.”

The only thing “highly disturbing” is the Texas GOP’s ongoing hatred, yes hatred, of trans kids.

The TASB guidance for trans kids that Slaton referred to is an almost laughably reasonable collection of actions schools can take so that their non-cis students can lead happy, fulfilling lives free from official oppression. It includes such highlights as “yes, trans kids exist and are protected by federal law,” “gender-affirming social treatment reduces harm to trans kids,” and “no, your school should not go out of its way to target trans kids.” Jesus Christ himself couldn’t have written a more basic set of behavioral rules, and yet Slaton and his clan of ghouls act like it’s Nero’s tenets for a blood orgy.

The statement is also just a flat out lie when it comes to the dreaded bathroom. Here’s the text from the guidance:

“To date, no court with jurisdiction in Texas has issued a final decision that clarifies exactly how a district must respond when a transgender student asks to use communal, sexspecific facilities that correspond to the student’s gender identity. In the meantime, it remains clear that the transgender student has a right to be free from discrimination or harassment based on gender identity, while other students may claim a right to privacy or raise a safety concern about sharing a sex-specific facility with a transgender student. Districts are tasked with finding a reasonable resolution that addresses each situation as best as possible, in light of nondiscrimination principles and practical options.”
That’s it. That’s the whole burrito. No rule declaring bathrooms gender free-for-alls, no districts with their hands tied to stop sexual assaults based on tyrannical wokeness, not even a call to build a few gender-neutral bathrooms. Everyone involved just has to come up with some sort of reasonable workaround that makes everyone as comfortable as possible. It’s basic human decency.

I have personally been pointing out since 2014 when Houston tried to institute trans protections that the entire bathroom thing is a goddamn myth that has never, ever been supported by evidence. Trans people are far more likely to be assaulted by using the bathroom associated with their birth gender than they ever are to assault someone else. The overwhelming majority of sexual assaults against students are perpetuated by cisgender people.

Not that facts matter. Hatred is a starving dog clawing through the door. The hyperfocus of far-right Texas Republicans on trans kids is part of a long, predictable history of encroaching fascism using gender minorities as a way to destroy social protections for anyone they don’t like. It is so easy for Slaton to whisper in the state’s collective ear about the perversion of gender norms and rile up otherwise decent people into a frenzy. They say it’s about protecting children, but as usual, they only mean certain children. The ones they hate, they will have state authority pursue until they are killed in body or soul or both.
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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner