Texas AG Paxton Lies Explaining Lawsuit Over School Toilet Access

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

It is a pity, and an abomination, that Republicans cannot exist or function without some group to demonize or a means of scaring simple-minded Americans on the religious right. Of course the latest cause célèbre is another religious-based fright-fest over the 0.3 percent of the population identifying as transgender wanting to use the toilet according to their gender identity. That figure is not 3 percent; it is 3-tenths of one percent and for all intents and purposes it is a fundamentally negligible percent of the population at best. Still, about eleven Republican states filed suit against the federal government challenging its “guidance” on allowing transgender students use of bathrooms.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made a big deal announcing that he joined Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, Arizona, as well as Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), a school district in Texas, and an Arizona school district demanding religious Republicans be allowed to deny transgender students use of school toilets according to their gender identity. Like everything Republicans do, their lawsuit is, as Think Progress kindly put it, “based on a false premise.” The lawsuit is based on dirty lies and fear mongering; but it likely sounds more reasonable to say it is based on a false premise.

According to Paxton, a religious right Republican, the federal government directive ordered all schools to “open all bathrooms to people of both sexes;” that is a lie. The religious Texan also implied that the federal government “requires that persons of both sexes have a right to use previously separate sex intimate facilities;” another lie.

The Texan not only deliberately lied about the feds “guidance,” but he joins other religious Republicans in rejecting transgender people out of hand as some kind of deviants. Deviants, by the way, that Paxton claims conveniently waffle on their “gender choice” to spy on other students and look at their genitalia in the school toilet.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE) guidance simply  “affirmed that Title IX’s implementing regulations permit a school to provide sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, housing, and athletic teams, as well as single-sex classes under certain circumstances.” And, it added that when complying with Title IX’s regulations, schools must allow transgender students to participate; including being allowed to comb their hair, urinate, wash their hands, or defecate in a toilet corresponding with their gender identity.

The Texas lawsuit is typically religious Republican and like attacks on gays, it does not use the word “transgender” except to quote other documents. It also is typical in using “scare quotes” to mock “gender identity.” Such as describing the DOJ and DOE guidance and enforcement of equal rights as a “massive social experiment running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.” The lawsuit, according to Think Progress “lays out an unrecognizable understanding of gender identity” and in typical religious Republican fashion is founded on fright and lies. In part it reads;

“According to the (Fed’s) Letter, schools must treat a student’s ‘gender identity’ as the student’s ‘sex’ for purposes of Title IX compliance, with one notable exception. ‘Gender identity,’ the Letter explains, refers to a person’s ‘internal sense of gender,’ without regard for biological sex. It can be the same as a person’s biological sex, or different. The Letter provides that no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement is a prerequisite to selecting one’s ‘gender identity,’ nor is there any form of temporal requirement. In other words, a student can choose one ‘gender identity’ on one particular day or hour, and then another one the next. And students of any age may establish a ‘gender identity’ different from their biological sex simply by notifying the school administration — the involvement of a parent or guardian is not necessary.”

Paxton’s arguments would be mind-boggling if one were not accustomed to the perpetual fear mongering and lies religious Republicans spew to deny Americans equal, or toilet, rights.

For example, of course there is no such thing as “a medical diagnosis or treatment as a prerequisite to selecting one’s gender identity” because it is not “a selection.” The Fed’s “Letter” aptly covered that by explaining that gender identity is “a person’s internal sense of gender;” it is not a “selection” and damn sure not arbitrary. It is the same kind of lie pushed by religious Republicans that being gay is a selected lifestyle, not an “internal sense,” that can be “theocratically diagnosed” as a Satanic disorder that any god-fearing evangelical with a bible can easily “cure” and “pray away.”

Second, there is no reason on Earth why any person of any age would need “a parent or guardian,” or religious Republican, involvement in their “internal sense of gender.” It is precisely why it is an “internal sense.” No other human being or entity is needed to regulate, choose,  recognize, or even remark on a person’s “internal sense” of their gender. And, this bovine excrement about a “form of temporal requirement” was inserted to substantiate religious bigots’ dirty lie that people are changing gender “daily and hourly” depending on who they are stalking to spy on in the school toilet.

Now, after Paxton was finished lying about the threat from transgender people and the federal government’s overreach in defending all Americans’ civil, and toilet, rights, he took questions and lied again. One question in particular prompted Paxton to do what Republicans know best; keep on lying. When asked, “Are you aware of an instance where this has been a safety issue?” Paxton lied and said, “This is a new policy, so there’s not a lot of research and policy. These are brand new guidelines that are just now being implemented.”

The fact that the federal government had to issue guidelines allowing transgender kids to use the toilet, is, in fact new because Republicans cannot comprehend equal rights. However, “schools across the country have had trans-inclusive policies for years, and there’s never been a single problem.” The Texas Freedom Network answered that question for Mr. Paxton and cleverly pointed out that “There have been more criminal charges filed against [Texas Attorney  General Ken] Paxton than there have been cases — zero, in fact — of transgender people using non-discrimination policies as an excuse to enter public restrooms to commit assaults.”

As many pundits, LGBT advocates, and reasonable human beings have noted this entire transgender toilet issue is a religious Republican problem that simply doesn’t exist. It is like everything associated with conservatives a distraction from their ineptitude to govern and the only means of convincing idiots and religious malcontents to vote for Republicans. Even though there has never been any misuse of anti-discrimination policies, except by religious Republicans, this issue will not go away soon and in fact will likely get much worse and cost taxpayers as it works its way through the judicial system.