ACPA Speaks Out Against Discriminatory Bathroom Bill in Texas

Texas SB6 Bathroom Bill

6 March 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I am at the Austin Capitol at the Trans Texas Lobby Day today and will testify before the Senate Committee on SB 6 tomorrow. My testimony is provided below for your review.

You can support our grassroots work in Texas to end discrimination against Transgender persons as well as members of the LGBTQ community. Use #STOPSB6 to express your views and “like” our Facebook postings on the activities here.

As of this morning, there are 17 bills that can be classified as "anti-LGBT" (some of these are companion bills, identical in the House and Senate). Within these there are 9 religious liberty bills, many of them broadly worded to allow refusals of service, medical treatment, housing, care, and other actions, based on "sincerely held religious belief" or "moral conviction."

At least 4 bills are focused on marriage equality in Texas: either nullifying it altogether, or allowing county clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Virtually any of these bills, if passed, would put Texas in the headlines and have an impact on how businesses, meeting planners, workers, and investors view the state. We will keep you posted on these. 

_________________

This morning, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held a press conference on SB6. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest of North Carolina. Forrest referenced economic growth in North Carolina and, contrary to Dan Patrick's talking points that SB6 and HB2 are different bills, Forrest noted that "this bill in Texas is very similar to the bill in North Carolina."

The big surprise of this press conference was the presence of Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) in support of SB6. Lucio's yes vote, alongside the four committee members who are co-authors on the bill (Senators Birdwell, Creighton, Estes, Hughes), would signal that the bill has enough votes to get out of the 9-member State Affairs Committee. 

The Texas Welcomes All campaign led its own press conference on the North Steps of the Capitol today, laying out the economic risks to Texas' very important tourism industry. Organizations represented will include SXSW, Alamo Drafthouse, C3 Presents, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, VisitDallas, Keep TexasOpen for Business, and Silicon Labs.   More information is available at https://www.equalitytexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Click-here-for-...

Thank you.

Cindi Love

 

March 7, 2017

Testimony by Rev. Dr. Cindi Love Executive Director American College Personnel Association One DuPont Circle NW Washington, DC 20036 clove@acpa.nche.edu

Honorable Chair Huffman and members of the Committee, I am Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, a fourth-generation Texan from Taylor County and Executive Director of ACPA—the American College Personnel Association in Washington, D.C. I am here to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 6.

The core values of our Association include equity, inclusion and human dignity. Last year, in accordance with these values, we withdrew our Institute on Assessment from North Carolina when House Bill 2 passed. http://www.meetings-conventions.com/News/Other-News/College-Personnel-As... Our annual convention is contracted for Houston in 2018. Your decision on SB 6 will bear upon our decision to remain or withdraw from Houston. We must conduct our business in places where our members, professionals and students alike, will be safe and welcome. http://www.chron.com/local/education/campus-chronicles/article/Concerned...

SB6 is not only unsafe but jeopardizes billions in federal financial aid money coming to colleges and universities in Texas. The bill is in direct conflict with protections provided to college students under Title IX. We must maintain and grow these protections. In 2003, I was an Executive Dean in the Dallas County Community College system when I met my first transgender student, Angel Collie. He is now a member of ACPA. After community college, Angel completed his Bachelor’s and the Masters of Divinity at Yale and is now an Assistant Director in the Student Affairs division of Duke University—taxpayer, homeowner and law-abiding citizen.

Angel was no threat to anyone in 2003 and is no threat to anyone now. In fact, the reverse is true. We are the threat to Angel. Imagine being called for jury duty and knowing that you cannot use the restroom within the court facilities. Imagine working on a campus the size of UT and be told that you have to use a restroom 15-minutes away. Put yourself in Angel’s place.

Do the right thing. Do not allow SB 6 to move out of this Committee.

Rev. Dr. Love’s Texas Address:

Abilene, TX 79604 972-358-5907

InsideHigherEd: Bathroom Politics

Texas SB6 Bathroom Bill

...the Texas bill is drawing more attention than others because it is considered most likely to pass...

Texas higher education officials have been mostly silent on a controversial piece of state legislation that would restrict bathroom use by transgender individuals on public campuses, even as the law could override existing policies and conflict with federal guidance.

The Texas legislation, introduced last week as Senate Bill 6, is similar to North Carolina’s widely protested “bathroom bill,” which, after it passed, prompted numerous organizations to pull events -- including academic gatherings and intercollegiate athletic competitions -- from that state. The Texas bill would require state agencies, including higher education agencies, to put policies in place restricting transgender people’s use of multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities except as consistent with their biological gender assigned at birth.

Use of such bathrooms and locker rooms would be restricted only to those whose sex listed on their birth certificate matched the sign on the bathroom door. Opponents argue that the law is unenforceable, that it feeds stigmatization of transgender individuals and that it could cause problems for those whose physical features and gender identities do not match the words on their birth certificate. The bill’s backers say it is a strike for “common decency” and public safety.

The Texas legislation is one of several such bathroom bills introduced in state legislatures. Legislation creating restrictions to restroom access based on biological sex or sex assigned at birth has been introduced in eight states... Read more at InsideHigherEd >>

American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Protests Passage of Texas SB 6

Texas SB6 Bathroom Bill

HOUSTON, TEXAS (PRWEB) JANUARY 11, 2017

The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) dba College Student Educators International has issued a formal protest to Texas Governor Greg Abbott regarding Texas Senate Bill 6 and its potential negative impact on college students and ACPA Convention attendees March 11-14, 2018.

This bill will require people to use the bathroom or locker room (changing facility) according to the sex assigned on their official birth certificates. It specifically requires higher education campuses and public K-12 schools, as well as charter schools, to comply.  Read More at PRWeb >>

Academic group threatens to pull Houston conference over Texas bathroom bill

Texas SB6 Bathroom Bill

An academic group is threatening to pull an upcoming conference from Houston next year, citing concerns with a bill before the Texas legislature that would require transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to their assigned sex at birth.

The American College Personnel Association, a trade group based in the nation’s capital, expects more than 3,100 people to travel to Houston over three days in March 2018 for the conference. Executive Director Cindi Love cited concern for transgender college students' and attendees’ safety as a reason for potentially relocating the conference.

“We cannot bring transgender-identified members to a city and risk (discrimination) if they leave the facility where we’ve contracted,” Love said Wednesday morning. The group backed out of a conference in North Carolina scheduled for last summer after that state passed a similar law.

Love said the group’s withdrawal from Houston would mean $5.129 million in lost revenue...  Read more at Chron >>

Call to ACTION: ACPA Responds to Texas Legislators on SB6 "Bathroom Bill"

Texas SB6 Bathroom Bill

By Dian Squire, Ph.D. Director, Equity & Inclusion

If you haven’t been made aware, Texas legislators have introduced to the senate State Bill 6 (SB6), the latest anti-transgender “bathroom bill” in our country.  The bill is colloquially titled “The Texas Privacy Bill.”  The bill would restrict trans-identified people from utilizing restrooms and changing facilities that align with their gender identity.  This applies to public colleges and universities, and public K-12 and charter schools.

Unlike North Carolina’s infamous HB2 bill which has cost the state upwards of $200M dollars in lost business, SB6 provides provisions for business and organizations (such as ACPA) to utilize rented facilities as they wish thereby allowing us to continue to provide gender neutral/all gender bathrooms during Convention.  This provision attempts to remove the financial risk of passing the bill; however, some analysts suggest the state will still lose up to $8B dollars due to the size of the state.  Additionally, this bill would prevent all local anti-discriminatory ordinances, but it is currently unclear whether it will retroactively repeal current ordinances.

In line with ACPA’s values, mission, and vision, ACPA firmly opposes the passage of SB6 or any like-oppressive legislation.  As such, we call on our members to help pressure state legislators to remove this bill from consideration.  Time is of the essence.  Below are steps you can take immediately to help stop the passage of this bill.  Below that are the steps that ACPA is currently undertaking.

You may be wondering if we will remove the Convention from Houston for #ACPA18.  It is currently the decision of the Governing Board not to change venues.  This decision is a moral decision, not a financial one.  Over the last two years, Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director of ACPA, has worked tirelessly with local LGB and T advocacy organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, ACPA members in Texas, and local activists to better understand the climate and culture of Houston and Texas and to “remain ahead” of this moment. (Read the HuffPost article here.)

It is at the urging recommendation of local community organizations and ACPA members in Texas that ACPA remain in Houston for #ACPA18 and utilize its many platforms, including its largest, Convention, to push for equity and justice in the state. This coming weekend, the newly selected Convention Steering Team will meet in Houston to continue discussions about how Convention can be used as a leverage point to create sustainable change in Texas and provide an atmosphere where our members can be safe and learn.  Barring unforeseeable circumstances ACPA will work for justice in Texas.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Fill up the in-boxes, voice mails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin accounts of Texas legislators.  SB6 must still be read on the Senate floor, assigned to a committee to set the calendar for it, hearings must be held and two more reads must occur before there is a vote.  Equality Texas has set up a site to automatically send an email to Texas legislators:  https://secure.everyaction.com/_DyseilpZkSDRx2Va3qCUg2

I hope you will include the list of facts below in your communications with your neighbors and legislative representatives.  

  1. The existence of trans people does not threaten the privacy of anyone else.  Trans people exist. Some people may be uncomfortable with this fact, but discomfort with difference is not the same as infringement of privacy.

  2. Trans women and girls are women and girls. They are not “biological males” or “men pretending to be women” — no qualifications needed. The same is true for trans men and boys, who are men and boys.

  3. Extending legal protections to transgender identified people, including when it comes to using restrooms and locker rooms, does not threaten the safety of anyone else. This has been proven time and time again despite the ongoing rhetoric to the contrary.

  4. Policing of gender or genitals in restrooms is bad for everyone. There is no way to actually enforce these anti-trans bathroom laws except by exposing us all to intrusive questioning about our bodies, our gender, and our government documents.

  5. Anti-trans laws are not really about restrooms, locker rooms, safety, or privacy but about expelling trans people from public life. Those most impacted by these laws have been and will always be trans people who are already subject to the most policing and violence — particularly trans women and femmes of color.  https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/transgender-people-arent-threat-you

  6. Educate yourself and your colleagues, neighbors, and friends about the trans university experience.  Pick up a great new book by Dr. Z Nicolazzo called Trans* in college: Transgender students’ strategies for navigating campus life and the institutional politics of inclusion today.  You can also learn more about action steps by reading ACPA’s Developmental Pathways to Trans Inclusion on College Campuses, a monograph co-authored by an ACPA member in Texas and me.

  7. Tweet and utilize the hashtag #FREE2B&PWITHU&ME and hashtag #ACPA or @ACPA with your message against SB6.

  8. Engage with myself, the ACPA leadership, and central staff office about your questions, comments, and concerns regarding SB6, #ACPA18 in Houston, or if you have suggestions for additional action or ways we can support you.

WHAT ACPA IS DOING

  1. As previously mentioned, Dr. Cindi Love has met with local groups in Texas over the past couple years to “stay ahead” of these types of actions.  She has also published a piece this weekend on Huffington Post titled "Can You Pass the OK in Texas Test?".  Please read, share, and comment on the post to move it to the top of the readership list.

  2. We will consult with membership about the withdrawal of our Convention from Texas and the cost to the association.  However, as stated previously, it is our current stance to stay in the state.  Aside from cost, this conversation will also include issues of safety, health, and privacy.

  3. Grassroots movements against SB6 will not be able to occur through ACPA due to the timeline; however, we will continue to inform and engage in the discussion about discrimination against trans-identified people and invite the public to engage in that discussion.

  4. We will continue to support local organizations on the ground in Texas who are fighting this battle every day.

  5. Depending on legislator reaction to these efforts and the efforts of others, we have considered additional actions that will support local colleges and universities and continue to bring to light the deleterious effects of this bill.

Dr. Dian Squire is the Director, Equity & Inclusion for ACPA and the Equity Chair for #ACPA18 in Houston.  He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Iowa State University.  He can be reached @diansquire on Twitter or via email.