Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Asks Schools to Ignore Transgender Directive

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the next step in the state's bathroom policy.

Patrick addressed the next step in the policy at 11 a.m. at the Texas Capitol in Austin. He said he would begin by sending a letter to all superintendents to not implement President Obama's guidelines.

Texas and 10 other states sued the federal government last week over the federal directive handed down to U.S. public schools earlier this month.

Patrick, who has previously said Texas is willing to forfeit $10 billion in federal education funding rather than comply, said he was sending a letter to all school district this week emphasizing that the state will support schools that defy the directive.

"Transgender students deserve the rights of anyone else. It does not mean they get to use the girls' room if they're a boy," Patrick said.

After Patrick's news conference, Equality Texas — an organization working to secure full equality for LGBTQ Texans — held a news conference.

Equality Texas' chairman was joined by several parents of transgender children outside the Capitol at noon. The families felt compelled to speak out to protect the safety of their children, according to a news release sent by the group

Patrick's announcement was immediately followed by several of parents of transgender students rebuking his comments.

"You, specifically you, are endangering my child's life. You have now told everyone in the state of Texas it is OK to harass my child," said Ann Elder, mother of a 10-year-old transgender child near Houston.

The lawsuit filed in a North Texas court last week asks a judge to declare the bathroom directive unlawful, accusing the Obama administration of conspiring "to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment." Other states bringing the challenge are Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Arizona, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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