Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has called a special legislative session. This means that, although the standard timeframe for passing legislation is over, he has called back all legislators in order to complete his discriminatory agenda. One of the items on the agenda is the “bathroom bill”, also known as State Bill 6 (SB6), and similar other bills. If passed, SB6 would regulate bathroom use by transgender individuals in public buildings, including public educational settings. As a native Texan, I am embarrassed by my home state; but I am proud of my home association, ACPA-College Student Educators International, and the efforts that have been made to defeat this bill.
Due to this new legislative session, it is time for ACPA members to act again! Earlier this year, the Convention Steering Team created a new position called the Advocacy Chair. As the Advocacy Chair on the Equity and Inclusion subcommittee for the 2018 Convention Planning Team, one of my roles is to encourage ACPA members to be engaged both at the local and national level. I will also be working to provide opportunities before, during, and after convention to engage with the local communities in Houston. Please be sure to stay abreast of opportunities to support our host city. To date, Dr. Cindi Love testified against the passing of this bill in front of the Texas legislature. Every Texas representative received a copy of Trans in College by Dr. Z Nicolazzo along with a strongly worded letter opposing SB6. We also utilized our time at ACPA17 to write postcards to Texas representatives reiterating our opposition to this bill. Two hundred postcards were sent to different Texas representatives.
As it relates to the continued fight against SB6, we are supporting the efforts of Equality Texas by tweeting and calling local representatives. If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you will find language that you can use to call and/or tweet (hashtags included). These actions (including hashtags) are recommended by Equality Texas, so please use these tags to support their local efforts. I hope that you’ll join your fellow ACPA members in this effort. With ACPA convention in Houston, TX in March 2018, this feels especially important and necessary.
This bill moves forward in fear on the claims that the Governor (and supporters of this bill) fear for the privacy of young children in public schools. We all know that is a statement crouched in discrimination simply because they won’t acknowledge our transgender population. And rather than admit they are dismissing an entire group’s rights, they prey on fear. As leaders in social justice and racial justice in higher education, we must speak up for those being oppressed. To have our Texas transgender communities singled out this way goes against our ACPA values.
Not only is this bill morally incomprehensible but Texas also stands to lose from a practical standpoint. The likelihood of a decrease in tourism is high and Texas’ budget does not (and should not) suffer needlessly. Major entities (Google, Facebook, NFL, etc.) have urged Texas to defeat this bill yet the Governor remains convinced that this bill is “right” despite the financial impact the state could endure. My response to the Governor, “Don’t mess with Texas and don’t legislate hate.”
Please act today.
I oppose the discriminatory Texas bathroom bill. Don’t legislate hate. #txlege #bathroombill #ACPA18
Calling a Representative
If you reach a staffer, recommendations are to keep it short:
- Hello, my name is … and I live in … I’m a member of ACPA-College Student Educators International, an organization for student affairs professionals. I’m calling to express my opposition to SB 6. This does not align with my personal values and, as an organization, ACPA is very much opposed to this bill. Our organization values diversity, equity, and social justice. Please tell Representative (name) that I would appreciate their work against this bill, and similar others. The bill is not about safety and discriminates against transgender individuals. Besides being opposed morally, I’m worried about the impact this bill could have on Texas tourism when so many large organizations are considering moving their events from the state. I’m opposed to SB 6 and I hope that Representative (name) will oppose this bill and stand up against bigotry.
- Depending on the direction of the call with the staffer, be prepared to reiterate your stance and how you would appreciate their leadership on this issue.
If you have to leave a voicemail instead:
- Hello, my name is … and I live in … I oppose SB 6 because it discriminates against transgender individuals and has nothing to do with safety. Representative (name), please vote against this bill and take a stand against fear and bigotry. Keep Texas a state that can be proud of hospitality and openness to all. The economic impact of this bill will be also be negative. Thank you.
Angie Montelongo (she/her/hers)
Angie currently serves as the Director of New Student Programs at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. She has been a member of ACPA for 20+ years and has worked in higher education in a variety of roles, including Residence Life, Student Activities, and Orientation programs. She served on the 2012 Louisville convention planning team and is proud to be on the 2018 Houston team in an advocacy role on the Equity and Inclusion team. Part of her responsibilities are to raise awareness of issues in Texas politics leading up to the 2018 Convention.