Evil descended on Austin

That is something everyone can agree on. Just exactly what that evil was is what we disagree on.

This morning SB 6, which is HB 2 reincarnated nd beamed over from North Carolina, was passed by the Texas Senate Affairs Committee by a vote on 8-1. That followed testimony on Tuesday of over 250 people which lasted more than 13 hours. There were 253 witnesses who testified against SB6 and 29 who testified in favor of it.

SB 6 would prohibit transgender-friendly bathroom, locker room and changing room policies in public schools, universities and in government buildings. It also would overturn city and county requirements for transgender bathrooms and prohibit cities and counties from withholding contracts based on a company’s bathroom policy.

Violators who allow people to use the bathroom of their gender identity, not the sex listed on their birth certificate, could be fined $1,000 to $1,500 for the first offense, rising to $10,000 to $10,500 for subsequent violations.

Many of the supporters of this bill say they saw evil in the fact that transgender people showed their faces in Austin.

Like Leo Lytle, who testified:

We have heard from many of them here tonight who are attempting to move the boundary of moral decency again and they must be stopped. I repeat it, Madame Chairwoman, don’t buy this false bill of goods.

Supporters make their case with a variety of arguments -- some relate to public safety, others question the entire concept of gender identity. But is there evidence to back some of their claims? What can we glean from places with protections for transgender people?

--Emanuella Grinberg and Dani Stewart, CNN

Myth 1: Predators in bathrooms

The claim: Sexual predators will take advantage of public accommodations laws and policies covering transgender people to attack women and children in bathrooms.

The facts: Anti-discrimination protections covering gender identity have been around for years, and there is no evidence they lead to attacks in public facilities.

Explained: As of March 2017, 19 states, the District of Columbia and more than 200 municipalities have anti-discrimination laws and ordinances allowing transgender people to use public facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

CNN found one case of a Seattle man who allegedly undressed in a women's locker room in 2016, citing Washington's anti-discrimination law as motivation.

CNN reached out to 20 law enforcement agencies in states with anti-discrimination policies covering gender identity. None who answered reported any bathroom assaults after the policies took effect.

And that one man was an anti-transgender activist.

I know there is a lot of anxiety associated with this issue, but it seems to be based on fear rather than facts. Given this, it is really disheartening to see so many states (and now our federal government) choose to treat people who are transgender with what looks like hatred.

--Maine Human Rights Commission Executive Director Amy Sneirson

Myth 2. Transgender people don't deserve protections

The claim: Being transgender is not a valid condition. Transgender people are mentally ill and should not be afforded the same legal protections or healthcare guarantees as gay and lesbian Americans.

The facts: The clear majority of mainstream medical, psychiatric and psychological communities agree that being transgender is not a concocted fantasy or mental illness. It's simply a valid state in which one's gender does not match what was assigned at birth.

Explained: The medical community defines gender identity as the way in which people perceive themselves, which could be different from their gender at birth. A transgender person's gender identity is different from cultural expectations based on the gender they were born with.

Characterizing transgender identity as a mental disorder contributes to precarious legal status, human rights violations, and barriers to appropriate health care, according to a study published in The Lancet in 2016.

Myth 3: Letting children identify as transgender is harmful

Claim: Children are too young to know if they are transgender, and supporting a child who identifies as transgender is child abuse.

The facts: Research shows that not allowing transgender children to live their gender identity is harmful, and can be deadly.

Explained: Decades of research suggest that when it comes to psychological traits and abilities, boys and girls are more alike than they are different. A child's parents and environment are more likely to influence their gender expression than the body parts they were born with, and the concept of gender becomes more fixed as we grow.

Just as it advises for adults, the medical community endorses letting children live their gender identity to avoid gender dysphoria or other conditions that may hinder mental or social development.

This discriminatory bill would completely turn her [his transgender daughter's] world upside down. “The proponents of this bill claim to have privacy and safety as their priority. However, they are severely endangering the privacy and safely of many children of this state, including my daughter.

If your concern is what is in children’s pants, then maybe you are the one who is behaving inappropriately.

--Frank Gonzales, Dallas

SB 6 is out of line with our values, and we believe discriminatory bills like this stand to hurt so many people.

--Charlie Jones, C3 Presents, which produces Austin City Limits for PBS

Tom Noonan, president of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, said 22 organizations have warned that they would not hold conventions in Austin if SB 6 were to pass, potentially depriving the city of more than $110 million in direct economic impact.

Patrick has (extremely inronically) called Noonan's information, "fear mongering."

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