Today, the Texas Senate voted 21-10 to pass SB6, the anti-trans legislation that restricts people's use of the bathroom that matches their gender identity. A House committee is hearing SB4, the anti-sanctuary legislation that will interfere with protections for undocumented people, and the senate is hearing SB8, a bill that was created in response to a made up problem illustrated in the bogus Planned Parenthood sting videos regarding fetal tissue use in research. The legislators who are promoting these bills have said that they are about protecting Texans, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, each of these bills is about controlling marginalized and vulnerable people in Texas.
Meanwhile, one state representative has had to file a bill to crowdfund the processing of backlogged rape kits because the state will not pay for processing. Amendments to SB6 proposed by various senators yesterday during reading to protect trans people from discrimination as a result of the bill failed, with proponents of the bill claiming that such protections would "gut the bill." Earlier in the session, a legislator tried to tack an anti-immigrant amendment onto a bi-partisan bill designed to fix our broken child protective services system, much to the dismay of many in the legislature.
It seems that the Texas legislature's priorities are completely out of whack. We have children dying on CPS's watch, a staggering maternal mortality rate amongst black women in Texas, a backlog of rape kits that could help to provide justice for sexual assault survivors, and long-time undocumented residents being ripped from their families. Yet we've seen that some members of the legislature would rather spend time oppressing trans people and denying them the safety of using the bathroom of their choice. We've seen language used in committee hearings that is abhorrent. Anti-immigrant, anti-trans, and anti-abortion legislation are all interconnected. They're all about dehumanizing those whom the people in power would like to control and oppress. In one exchange, Senator Don Huffines refused to agree with Senator Kirk Watson that women deserve bodily autonomy. The rhetoric of those working to pass SB4, SB6, and SB8 are all about the politics of control.
As these bills and others move through the legislative process, TEA Fund will work to counter the narratives of fear and dehumanization used to uphold this agenda of oppression. People deserve the right to fully express and be who they are. They have the right to live with their families in safe and supportive communities. And they have the right to bodily autonomy without burdensome interference by the state. We hope that the legislature will someday cease working so hard to hurt the people of Texas and instead take up all the ways they could be of help -- by supporting family-friendly legislation like family leave and equal pay, removing barriers to abortion access for low-income people, supporting trans students being safe in school environments, and supporting sexual assault survivors. We call upon the state legislature to support complete economic, racial, and gender justice instead of crusading against the rights of the oppressed.