Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick demands resignation of superintendent ousted over bathroom policy
AUSTIN, Texas – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick traveled to Ft. Worth today, doubling down on his earlier call for the Ft. Worth School superintendent, Kent Schribner to resign for the district's new policy for transgender students.
The policy allows transgender students to use restrooms consistent with their chosen “gender identity.”
Speaking today, Patrick said, “The job of a superintendent is not to be a social engineer.”
Patrick first said it on Monday, the same day the federal government and North Carolina squared off over a new law banning anyone from using restrooms not corresponding with their biological sex in North Carolina government buildings.
In Houston, Fran Watson, president of Houston GLBT Political Caucus, believes the North Carolina law, now being challenged in federal court is encouraging conservatives like Lt. Gov. Patrick in Texas.
“Unfortunately what's happened in North Carolina that's translating over to Texas. Legislation will be happening in 2017, so bills will be filed,” Patrick said.
Watson was a supporter of Houston's Hero ordinance, which would have have ensured transgender rights in Houston. It was defeated by voters last November
“When the Hero ordinance failed, it just opened the door for this type of legislation,” Watson said.
Jared Woodfill, the former Harris County Republican party chairman, helped organize the successful opposition to the Hero ordinance.
“Men should stay out of female restrooms, showers and locker rooms period," Woodfill said.
Woodfill and others tried get a bill similar to the North Carolina law through the Texas Legislature in the last session, but it never got out of committee.
“We said if we do not take care of this at state level it is coming to city, county or ISD near you and that's what we're seeing played out throughout the state of Texas,” he said.
Patrick says he expects bills to introduced in the coming session that would prohibit transgender citizens from using public restrooms not consistent with their biological sex.
And a fight is expected over a proposed plank in the state Republican party platform that will be hammered out in Dallas this weekend when the party meets for it's annual convention.
The Houston Independent School District expanded its non-discrimination policy to cover transgender students in 2011. Unlike the new Ft. Worth policy, it doesn't contain specific language concerning bathroom or locker room use. A HISD said that would be covered on a “case by case” basis.