The Obama administration on Friday issued guidelines to protect transgender students from discrimination. In a letter to school districts, the departments of education and justice said transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The announcement has been met with applause and anger.
On the floor of the GOP convention in Dallas, State Senator Don Huffines weighed in.
“This is more than a bathroom issue. This is about promoting liberal Democrat agenda,” Huffines said. “The president, Obama, has bypassed Congress to do this, because he knows he can’t get it through Congress. This is another example of an overreaching president that we have.”
Huffines doesn’t think any student should be bullied, but said that’s not what this debate is about.
“This is a dangerous situation where you’re allowing men or boys in the girls restrooms and in the locker rooms,” Huffines said. “And we’ve got a safety issue, we’ve got a security issue and that’s really what the state needs to focus one. We need to make sure our children are safe when they go to school.”
The federal directive for transgender students comes in the same week that Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner issued bathroom guidelines. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick responded by calling Scribner a “dictator.”
On Friday, Scribner issued a statement saying in part, “the bottom line is that our policy helps protect kids from bullying ... nothing more, nothing less.”
Cece Cox, CEO of the Resource Center, a gay and lesbian community center in Dallas said the new guidelines will protect students.
“Transgender folks have been using public restrooms and restrooms in schools for years and years and years, but many times they’re threatened, they’re harassed, they’re in fear, they’re holding it all day,” Cox said. “I mean children will hold it all day because they’re afraid all day and that needs to stop.”
She said Patrick should focus on the bigger picture: what happens in the classroom, not the bathroom.