Anti-Transgender Legislation Introduced During Texas Special Legislative Session

by Nick Morrow

HRC called on the Texas legislature to reject two anti-transgender bills, Senate Bill 3 and Senate Bill 91, introduced overnight by Texas Senator Lois Kolkhorst and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

HRC called on the Texas legislature to reject two anti-transgender bills, SB3 and SB91, introduced overnight by Texas Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. After more than thirty anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in the regular session, Governor Abbott called a special session with the stated purpose of passing a measure intended to discriminate.

This most recent attack on the LGBTQ community doubles down on the discrimination Sen. Kolkhorst and Lt. Gov. Patrick championed during the regular session. SB3 and SB91 mandate HB2-style anti-transgender discrimination in any multiple-occupancy restroom or locker room in any property owned by a city, county, school district, state agency, or other political subdivision.  Further, it would overturn LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances protecting millions of people across Texas in cities such as Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth insofar as those ordinances protect people from discrimination in bathrooms. It also prohibits these entities from forbidding discrimination in athletics on the basis of any characteristic not currently reflected in state law -- an obvious jab at transgender athletes in particular.

“Texas had the most anti-LGBTQ legislative session in the United States, and now, Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick are pushing their extreme agenda with this unnecessary, costly special session,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. “SB3 and SB91 are a blatant attack on transgender Texans, and these bills would harm the state’s reputation, its people and its economy. This unconscionable legislation revives the most troubling parts of the anti-transgender legislation that already failed to become law during the regular session and doubles down on the governor and lieutenant governor’s desire to play political football with transgender Texans’ lives. We will be fighting against these harmful bills and any attempt to single out LGBTQ Texans.”

During the 2017 regular session, the Texas Legislature has pursued a slate of unconscionable anti-LGBTQ bills as part of a systematic effort to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Texans, piece by piece. This session, the Texas legislature introduced at least 30 anti-LGBTQ bills, and 11 passed at least one chamber. By comparison, in 2017 all other states combined passed only 13 bills through at least one house. Now, Gov. Abbott has decided that is not enough. We have to ask: how much discrimination will be enough?

HRC has more than a dozen staff on the ground in Austin -- alongside dozens of volunteer organizers -- been leading field organizing efforts around the state to defeat these anti-LGBTQ bills. HRC continues to work alongside Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Education Network of Texas and others on the ground to battle against dangerous or harmful bills that attack the dignity of LGBTQ Texans. As a coalition, we will stand together; we will support and comfort one another; and we will continue to work together until we defeat every bill this session that discriminates against LGBTQ Texans.