Trans bathroom laws not ‘real issues’ according to new Texas House Speaker

Dennis Bonnen wearing a dark suit speaking at a lectern, there are a lot of white men in suits standing behind him

The incoming House Speaker in Texas has made it clear he doesn’t plan on debating bathroom laws for trans people during his term.

Republican Dennis Bonnen said he didn’t think the bathroom bill was a real issue. The billcaused a great rift in the House in 2017.

‘My intent is for the House to be focused on real issues like school finance reform, property tax reform,’ he told the Dallas Morning News.

‘And I would be very discouraged if we were distracted by an issue that could derail those significant challenges that we need to solve.’

Bonnen’s predecessor, Republican Joe Strauss, was critical in blocking a bill that would have forced trans students to use the bathroom of the gender assigned to them at birth. Conservative LGBTI rights group, American Unity Fund, gave Strauss the Champions of Freedom Award for his efforts.

At the time Strauss warned the issue would come up agin in the Texas House.

Strauss referred to remarks by Senator Lois Kolkhorst: ‘The author of the discriminatory bathroom bill in the Texas Senate said recently that the bathroom bill was “the women’s rights issue of our time”.’

‘And that’s why all of us need to keep fighting,’ he said in 2017.

A new hope

But Bonnen’s comments have given hope to trans advocates that House Representatives won’t revive the controversial bill during the current term.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott pushed for the bill to go ahead in 2017. But he said during his reelection campaign the issue was no longer on his agenda.

Debate over the bill in 2017 brought the House to a standstill. Abbott called a 30-day special session which forced the House to adjourn a day early. That meant politicians couldn’t vote on the bill.

Advocates heralded the House’s killing of the bill as a major victory for LGBTI rights in the largely conservative state.

 

Author: Shannon Power

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