Texas Bill Targeting Transgender Students for Discrimination on Hold

State of Texas sealApril 20, 2015 - TLDEF responded to news that the Texas Legislature’s State House Affairs Committee had delayed a bill singling out transgender students for discrimination. Introduced by Republican State Representative Gilbert Peña, House Bill 2801 would have required schools to adopt policies prohibiting transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with who they are as boys and girls. It would also have made schools liable for a minimum of $2,000 in damages that they would have had to pay to students who complained that they encountered a transgender student in a prohibited bathroom.

Reports indicate that the Chair of the State House Affairs Committee found the bill’s language to be too harsh. Representative Pena said it would be “toned down” and rescheduled for a hearing this week.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We are pleased to see this onerous legislation postponed from consideration in the Texas legislature. The bill targets already vulnerable transgender students for further bullying harassment, and persecution. It is a cruel attack on the health and well-being of transgender students who deserve to be protected in their school environments. No amount of modification will make this bill acceptable. Regardless of how it is written, this legislation is designed to discriminate. We hope this delay leads to the bill’s ultimate demise.

We also hope that Texas state legislators ultimately scrap three other anti-transgender bills – HB 1747, HB 1748, and HB 2802 – that seek to criminalize transgender people for using restrooms consistent with who they are and threaten public bathroom providers with felony charges for allowing transgender people to use prohibited bathrooms. These bills are an assault on the basic rights of transgender people and should fail.”